SEATTLE — Starbucks Coffee Co. is adding a farming research and development center in Costa Rica in an effort to expand the company’s $70 million ethical sourcing program.
The company will turn a 240-hectare (593-acre) farm on the slopes of Poas Volcano in the country into an agronomy center that will help the company expand its Coffee and Farming Equity practices. It also will help with the development of coffee varietals based on the insight offered through soil management processes.
“This investment and the cumulative impact it will have when combined with programs we have put into place over the last 40 years will support the resiliency of coffee farmers and their families as well as the 1 million people that represent our collective coffee supply chain,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “It also opens up an opportunity for Starbucks to innovate with proprietary coffee varietals that can support the development of future blends.”Starbucks has invested more than $70 million in collaborative farmer programs and activities during the last 40 years, including Coffee and Farming Equity practices, farmer support centers, farmer loans and forest carbon projects. The new facility will build on work being done at farmer support centers in Rwanda, Tanzania, Colombia, China and the first farmer support center that opened in San Jose, Costa Rica, in 2004. The farmer support centers aim to provide farmers with expertise and training in soil management, field-crop production and milling processes to improve the quality and size of the harvest.