Martiniano Moreno has been growing coffee in Chiapas, Mexico for more than 30 years. He relies on his crops to support a family of eight, but he has doubts about the future.
Over the past several years, challenging growing conditions in Chiapas have created a climate where “coffee rust” has taken hold and decimated Moreno’s most recent harvest.
“All year long we cared for and fertilized our coffee plants. In November, when the cherries were almost ripe, we began to see some plants with the fungus. They turned yellow and completely dried out in a few days,” explained Moreno, owner of La Victoria farm in Jaltenango, Chiapas. “The problem is not just the fungus. The climate with a mixture of rain and sun aggravates the fungus, dries out the plants and then kills them.”
Coffee rust is a fungus that damages coffee plants when not properly managed through proper growing techniques and integrating coffee varietals that are more rust resistant.
Recognizing the impact that rust is having on farmers, Starbucks Mexico is launching a program called TODOS SEMBRAMOS CAFÉ (we all grow coffee) to help. Through the program, 100 percent of the profits from Shade Grown Mexico Whole Bean Coffee sold in Starbucks Mexico stores from June through December will be donated to purchase rust resistant coffee plants for Chiapas coffee growers who need assistance renewing their plots. The program is part of Starbucks ongoing, comprehensive commitment to supporting coffee farmers’ resiliency around the world.
“Each year, Starbucks Mexico proudly serves 10 million cups of high-altitude arabica coffee from Chiapas in our stores across Mexico. Our Coffee of the Day is proudly Mexican,” said Frederico Tejado, general manager of Starbucks Mexico. “TODOS SEMBRAMOS CAFÉ is one of the ways that we are collaborating with our supply chain partners to help Chiapas coffee growers stabilize their coffee farms over the long-term as a part of our comprehensive approach to ethically sourcing the world’s best coffee.”
Shade Grown Mexico is the Starbucks coffee served in the more than 400 Starbucks stores in Mexico. It is grown in the shade of the trees at El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, located in the Sierra Madre of Chiapas. Chiapas is the largest region producing high-quality, arabica coffee in Mexico. Starbucks has sourced coffee from Chiapas since 2002 and maintains strong relationships with many farmers in the region.
“Starbucks believes that we must work alongside our coffee producers to help them manage through changes in weather and challenges like coffee rust. Projects like TODOS SEMBRAMOS CAFÉ , is just one of the ways we invest in producers so they can adapt to uncertainties and continue to produce high-quality arabica coffee for the industry”, said Alfredo Nuño, green coffee trader for Mexico and Central America at Starbucks Coffee Trading Company.
Over the past forty years, Starbucks has invested more than $70 million in collaborative farmer programs and activities including C.A.F.E. Practices, farmer support centers, farmer loans and forest carbon projects.
All of these integrated programs directly support improving farmer livelihoods and ensuring a long-term supply of high-quality coffee for the industry.