Starbucks donates two million coffee seeds to rebuild Puerto Rico’s coffee industry

Starbucks has announced it will donate two-million disease-resilient seeds to help farmers in Puerto Rico reboot its coffee industry. In 2017, Hurricane Maria destroyed 18 million coffee trees in Puerto Rico, approximately 80 per cent of the island’s crop. Some farmers lost up to 95 per cent of their crop. Lost coffee trees amounted to US$18 million in damage. “We have an opportunity and a responsibility to be part of creating a future for coffee farmers in Puerto Rico,” Starbucks Senior Vice-President Michelle Burns says. “Providing seeds may sound simple, but that’s what gets directly to the farmer. It’s the purest example of our ability to have a direct impact.” Starbucks has partnered to form a task force of farmers, officials, academics and non-profits, including Hispanic Federation founder Luis Miranda. “My family loves coffee. Coffee has been part of Puerto Rico’s agricultural heritage for centuries,” Miranda says. “After Maria razed coffee plantations on the island, we must work harder to rebuild the sector smartly, resiliently and profitably for small farmers. The collaboration among Starbucks, coffee growers, Hispanic Federation and other non-profits as well as Lin-Manuel and our family, is an important step in this rebirth.” In addition, The Starbucks Foundation and the Fonalledas Foundation, part of Starbucks’ licensing partner in Puerto Rico, are partnering with World Coffee Research to improve coffee seed quality and create a sustainable future for Puerto Rican coffee farmers.

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