Starbucks yesterday unveiled its first Asia-based farmer support center, in Pu’er China, part of a long-term investment in farming in China’s Yunnan province. The move complements Starbucks’ retail plans in the area, as it hopes to open 1,500 new stores in China over the next three years.
Starbucks and the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Science got together to plant four coffee varietals spread over 650 hectares (approximately 1,600 acres) three years ago over eight different locations in the province. Starbucks hopes to begin commercial planting of the four varietals at the end of a five-year test cycle.
“The opening of the Starbucks China Farmer Support Center is a significant milestone in Starbucks continued investments in China and the Starbucks Yunnan Coffee Project,” John Culver, president of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, said in a company announcement. “We are committed to deepening our relationships with local Chinese farmers, through our work with the Yunnan Provincial Government and the Pu’er Municipal Government. We believe Yunnan will play an important strategic role in our long-term supply of premium arabica coffee, as we continue to expand our store base in China.”