The Seattle coffee store chain Starbucks announced it plans to buy its first coffee farm, a nearly 600-acre estate on the slopes of the Poás Volcano in Costa Rica. It would be the first farm the chain purchases.
Starbucks on Monday said it plans to convert the farm to an agronomy research and development centre working on climate change mitigation, long-term crop stability and other programs. It did not disclose terms of the deal, which is expected to close in May.
The centre “will support the resiliency of coffee farmers and their families as well as the one million people that represent our collective coffee supply chain,” CEO Howard Schultz said in a news release.
Starbucks’ farm also could be used to experiment with new types of coffee, he said.
Over the past 40 years, Starbucks has invested more than US$70 million on programs that support farmers’ livelihoods and help ensure the long-term availability of high-quality coffee.
The chain has farmer support centres in China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Rwanda and Tanzania. Their agronomists and other experts provide farmers with expertise and training in soil management, field-crop production and milling processes to improve the quality and size of their harvests.