Starbucks Coffee Company and Rwandan Government Discuss ongoing Partnership
KIGALI, Rwanda, June 27, 2009 - Today during his third visit to Rwanda, Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ:SBUX) chairman, president and ceo, Howard Schultz, met with Rwanda's President Paul Kagame to discuss and build on the investments Starbucks has made in East Africa over the past five as well as future opportunities. Additionally, Schultz will participate in the upcoming grand opening of the Starbucks Farmer Support Center in Kigali.
"Through our commitment to, and partnership with, the Rwandan government, local NGOs and coffee farmers throughout East Africa, Starbucks hopes to participate in a market ecosystem that benefits all partners involved," Schultz said.
"The partnership between Starbucks and Rwanda is a real example of a country and business coming together for the greater good. This collaboration is in line with Rwanda's determination to work closely with investors to build and sustain long and mutually beneficial relationships. We look forward to working with Starbucks and strengthening our relationship over the coming years," said President Paul Kagame.
The Rwandan Farmer Support Center (FSC) will work with East African coffee communities to improve coffee quality and growing practices. The team will work in the region to increase the number of farmers supplying Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ coffee, which is produced according to Starbucks responsibly grown, ethically traded coffee buying guidelines. Since the opening of the company's Costa Rican FSC, Starbucks has seen improvements in quality evaluation scores, as much as 20 percent increase in yields per hectare, up to an 80 percent reduction in the use of pesticides and a five percent increase in suppliers' performance scores for participating growers in that region.
Today's announcements build on the investments Starbucks has made in East Africa over the past five years. These include:
- Doubling the amount of East African coffee purchased from 2006 to 2008.
- More than US$6.4 million to help East African coffee farmers and communities through grants focused on education, health services and capacity building.
- Programs with non-profit organizations such as CARE, AfriCare, African Wildlife Fund and WaterAid to address rural development challenges in the region – such as access to clean water and protecting biodiversity areas.
- An additional US$1 million into a program to provide access to low interest loans to East African coffee farmers through the non-profit lender Root Capital, for a total of US$10 million in loans to coffee farmers worldwide. Starbucks has stated a commitment to provide $20 million in farmer loans by 2015.
Starbucks Coffee Company provides an uplifting experience that enriches people's lives one moment, one human being, one extraordinary cup of coffee at a time. To share in the experience, visit www.starbucks.com.
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