Heifer International was awarded a Starbucks Foundation grant of $750,000 to help fund the Mbozi Farmer Livelihood Improvement Project in Tanzania, which will help improve livelihoods and quality of life for smallholder coffee growing communities in the East African country.
This grant is part of Starbucks comprehensive approach to ethical sourcing. To date, Starbucks has contributed $15 million in social projects to support farming communities around the world.
The project will be part of our East Africa Dairy Development Project in Tanzania and will assist at least 5,000 smallholder coffee farmers and their families. As much as 90 percent of the population in the Mbozi District is engaged in coffee farming. As global coffee prices fluctuate, farmers often experience a significant need for income throughout the year that coffee production alone cannot meet.
Our project will provide dairy cows so that farmers can engage in dairy farming as a complementary activity to their coffee production. Dairy farming will provide a diversified source of income and even out their year-round cash needs. Farmers will receive training on proper dairy management and cattle husbandry techniques to better position them for profitable enterprises, and the creation of a milk collection center will give larger dairy processors easier access to farmers' milk.
"Adding dairy farming will ensure coffee farmers have a steady flow of income to reinvest into their coffee farms,” said Heifer’s President and Chief Executive Officer Pierre Ferrari. “By introducing higher and steadier income levels from dairy, coffee farmers will actually have increased capital to invest in physical inputs and new technology to increase coffee production."
The project also will increase access to water and improve sanitation, as well as increase use of alternative sources of renewable energy.
Heifer and Starbucks have partnered in the past. In 2009, after CEO Howard Schultz visited smallholder coffee farmers in Rwanda, he heard the heartfelt requests from farmers that, if they had cows, they would have milk, better nutrition and income for their families. Starbucks employees rallied together to provide the cows these farmers wanted so desperately.
In 2014, the Starbucks Foundation granted more than $3.7 million to multiple organizations who help address relevant needs in specific communities. Each investment is targeted to create a sustained impact in a local community developing the necessary infrastructure to help support systemic, long term change.
Over the past 40 years, Starbucks has been dedicated to supporting the lives of farmers and their families around the world who grow their coffee. Through a comprehensive approach to ethical sourcing Starbucks is providing fair wages, access to farmer loans and technical assistance in order for farmers to navigate the complexities of agriculture – a long term process. In total, Starbucks has invested more than $70 million in collaborative farmer programs and activities over the past 40 years. In 2015, Starbucks will achieve the goal of 99 percent of its coffee being verified as ethically sourced. Additional details about Starbucks community initiatives are available at Starbucks.com/Responsibility/sourcing.