Starbucks Opens First Farmer Support Center in Yunnan, China; Strengthening Commitment to China Farming Communities

John Culver, president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, and Belinda Wong, president, Starbucks China, unveil Starbucks first Asia-based Farmer Support Center, in China’s Pu’er City (Yunnan Province), with senior officials from the Yunnan Provincial Government and Pu’er Municipal Government. (Photo: Business Wire)

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.

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 and AiNi Group, one of Yunnan Province’s most established coffee operators and agricultural companies, announced the establishment of Starbucks AiNi Coffee (Yunnan) Co. Ltd. in early 2012. To date, the joint venture is progressing towards its development goals and the processing mill will be operational later this month, just in time for Yunnan’s current coffee harvesting season. The mill, under Starbucks-AiNi joint venture company, will be able to process up to 20,000 tons of green coffee beans annually.

“We are pleased to be working with Starbucks to support this strategic coffee growing region in China. The combined strengths of Starbucks coffee passion and sustainability practices, along with our years of experience in agricultural production will elevate the overall Yunnan coffee industry and ultimately improve the quality of coffee harvested by our coffee farming communities. Operationalizing the processing mill later this month will be a proud milestone for the Starbucks-AiNi joint venture company,” stated Liu Minghui, General Manager, Starbucks AiNi Coffee (Yunnan) Co. Ltd., and Founder and Chairman, AiNi Group.

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. With plans for China to become the second largest market outside the U.S. in 2014, Starbucks aims to accelerate its developmental growth plans in Kunming and beyond.