13 December 2012

Starbucks Opens First Farmer Support Center in Yunnan, China

- Farmer Support Center opening marks the first in Asia, sixth globally 
- Strengthening commitment to China farming communities 
- Aims to operate over 1,500 stores across 70 cities in China by 2015 

PU’ER, China - 12 December 2012 - As part of its commitment to elevate China’s Yunnan Province as a high-quality coffee growing region, Starbucks Coffee Company today announced the opening of its first Asia-based Starbucks Farmer Support Center in Pu’er, China. In addition, Starbucks reported that the pilot local adaption tests for four coffee varietals, first introduced in Yunnan about three years ago under the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) agreements with the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Science and People’s Government of Pu’er City, Yunnan Province, are progressing on-track. The local adaption test currently spreads across more than 650 hectares of coffee farms in eight different locations in Yunnan, and subject to local Government approvals, Starbucks is targeting the commercial planting of these coffee varietals at the end of the five-year test cycle. 

“The opening of the Starbucks China Farmer Support Center is a significant milestone in Starbucks continued investments in China and the Starbucks Yunnan Coffee Project,” said John Culver, president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific. “We are committed to deepening our relationships with local Chinese farmers, through our work with the Yunnan Provincial Government and the Pu’er Municipal Government. We believe Yunnan will play an important strategic role in our long-term supply of premium arabica coffee, as we continue to expand our store base in China, reaching 1,500 stores in 2015.” 

Starbucks agronomists and quality experts at the Starbucks China Farmer Support Center will work directly with Yunnan’s coffee farmers to provide resources and expertise to promote responsible coffee-growing practices and processing methods that improve quality. 

“Starbucks Yunnan Coffee Project is about creating a positive change for local China farming communities. We are pleased with the progress of the local adaption tests as it signifies that we are taking one more step forward to completing the Starbucks China value-chain; delivering premium arabica coffee from bean to cup,” said Belinda Wong, president, Starbucks China. “Our vision is to leverage our global coffee leadership, sharing our coffee knowledge and expertise to elevate the Yunnan coffee industry and help local farmers develop localized, high-quality coffee that can be celebrated and served in Starbucks stores across China and globally.” 

Through the globally-tested coffee knowledge and best practices developed under Starbucks Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, and with the support of the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Science and local Government authorities, Starbucks aims to work directly with Yunnan farmers to help reduce the environmental impact of the region’s coffee-growing activities and improve the livelihood of the farmers and their families. Based on Starbucks experience working with farmers through its Farmer Support Centers in areas like Costa Rica, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Colombia, Starbucks firmly believes that efforts by Starbucks China Farmer Support Center will enhance the breadth and depth of Yunnan’s coffee leadership, and deliver tangible and significant benefits to local farmers, communities and the economy. 

Starbucks today operates more than 700 stores across more than 50 cities in China. Starbucks entered the Yunnan Province with the opening of its first store in Kunming in May 2010 and has since expanded to six stores within the provincial capital. China will become Starbucks second largest market outside the U.S. by 2014, and Starbucks aims to operate over 1,500 stores in China by 2015

Source: Starbucks