Starbucks, US Agency for International Development announce public-private partnership to increase coffee yields and improve livelihoods for 25,000 farmers in support of Colombia's rural development

WASHINGTON , September 24, 2013 (press release) – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Starbucks today announced a public-private partnership to increase coffee yields and improve livelihoods for 25,000 farmers in support of Colombia's rural development.

"At USAID, it is a priority that we work directly with the private sector to harness its power as an engine of growth and development," said Raj Shah, USAID's Administrator. "By creating timely, sustained, and market-based economic opportunities, our partnership with Starbucks will lead to greater prosperity for Colombia's small coffee farmers.

USAID and Starbucks will each contribute $1.5 million over three years to provide technical support, technology, and market opportunities to small-scale coffee farmers in the rural regions of Antioquia, Tolima, Huila, and Cauca. Farmers will learn how to improve coffee quality and increase yields, and work with soil scientists to better understand soil composition to improve crops and save costs. These gains will better allow farmers to access global buyers at premium prices.

Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said of the agreement, "Starbucks is incredibly proud to be joining with USAID to bring Starbucks 42-year relationship with Colombian coffee farmers to make a meaningful impact on farmer livelihoods. Starbucks is committed to the long term success and wellbeing of these farmers and their families. Together, we will help ensure a supply chain for the great coffee Colombian farmers are known for around the world."

This strategic collaboration with Starbucks builds on USAID's broader $100 million investment in Colombia's rural areas, a priority to advancing development in regions critical to inclusive economic growth. Since 2002, USAID has provided assistance to coffee farmers in Colombia to improve coffee yields and quality, impacting more than 25 percent of the country's total specialty coffee production and benefiting more than 67,000 families.

Colombia is the fourth largest producer of coffee in the world and the largest producer of specialty quality Arabica beans and Starbucks is the world's largest purchaser of high-quality specialty Colombian coffee.

For more information please visit: http://www.usaid.gov/

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