Creating Long-Term Value for Coffee Growers – Strauss Group
Creating Long-Term Value for Coffee Growers – Strauss Group

Creating Long-Term Value for Coffee Growers

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The More than a Cup Partnerships

As one of the largest green coffee purchasers in the world, Strauss places significant effort on strengthening the value chain, including support for coffee-growing communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. By improving the capabilities of local coffee-growing communities, we help develop women’s skills as well as contributing to local prosperity. In 2016, Strauss Coffee launched the More than a Cup (MTAC) initiative, as a long term strategic commitment to the coffee growers. The initiative is run with the cooperation of employees and managers at Strauss Cafe, partnerships with professional aid organizations and maintains close contact with the women of the coffee farms. The goal of the project is to support coffee agriculture by improving farming infrastructures, investing in professional equipment, and providing professional, managerial and financial training to the farmers. In this way, the project assists with promoting gender equality and reducing poverty in the communities participating in the project.

The local partnerships within the framework of the MTAC project are directly managed by coffee growing groups and local cooperatives. We communicate with each group individually, with the aim of providing tailored support to local needs. By the end of 2020, MTAC included 10 active partners in eight counties and over 14,400 coffee growers, and it helps them make dignified livings for themselves to support their families and communities.

In 2020, we entered into new partnerships in the Congo that include 500 households of coffee growers who are members of the local cooperative. In addition to the usual program components, this partnership includes additional support components for the local growers. Gravity water transportation systems were built in 2020 to improve access to sanitation infrastructures for hundreds of women working as quality sorters in local coffee processing plants.

Our initiatives in different countries are based on local partnerships, and work directly with coffee grower groups and local cooperatives. We communicate with each group individually, aiming to provide the necessary support for effective growth. As part of Strauss Coffee’s approach to partnership and responsibility, our relationships with the various groups does not amount to funding alone. The relationship usually includes additional components such as agricultural training, teaching managerial and business skills, technical consulting, and supply of coffee processing equipment, with a constant focus on empowering women through the coffee value chain.

Partnerships in the More than a Cup Project in 2019

Country Household/Farm Women Managing Farms or Gender Activity Details of the Projects
Honduras 250 250 Support for building and installing a coffee drying machine, training and technical support
Colombia 1,200 300 Supplying equipment, training and financial education
El Salvador 50 50 Support for the treatment of infected coffee trees and distribution of 10,000 disease-resistant coffee plants, agrotechnical support and gathering facilities
Uganda (Elgon Mountain and West Nile) 2,800 2,800 Supplying equipment, agricultural material and funding for a gender equality campaign
Uganda (Rwenzory Mountains) 5,700 20 Providing agricultural training and funding a gender equality program
Ethiopia (Sidamo) 500 200 Training on optimal agricultural practices and installing clay ovens
Ethiopia (Yirgachffe) Temporarily on hold due to the Corona pandemic Implementing collective water infrastructures, training communities on hygiene and sanitation, running coffee tutorials, and sowing coffee seedings
Rwanda 1,823 283 Providing training and building a coffee bean washing station
Tanzania 460 460 Launching a gender studies program (GALS) of the Volcafe company, and aiding in the improvement of coffee quality and production
Vietnam 327 327 Assisting in organizing programs and providing financing for new equipment
Congo 1,060 1,060 Project launched in 2020. Creating access to water (gravity-fed systems) for three agricultural groups, providing better access to sanitation infrastructures for hundreds of women working as quality sorters in coffee processing plants
Total 14,170 5,750

Strauss Coffee Adapts its Support of Coffee Farmers to the Corona Crisis

From 2016, Strauss Coffee has been supporting coffee farmers in countries throughout the world. With the start of the Corona crisis at the beginning of 2020, the need arose to assist our partners and their families with their basic needs. Strauss Coffee provided coffee farmers in the Congo with tens of thousands of sanitation kits that included hand sanitizer, masks and even solutions for providing clean and safe water for the home environment. In addition, Strauss Coffee provided support to a fund dealing with the Corona virus in East Africa.

At the same time as the Corona pandemic was raging in 2020, large regions of the world had to cope with hurricanes that left many citizens without a roof over their heads or basic necessities. Strauss Coffee stepped up to assist victims of these disasters in the communities in which it operates. Most of the work was concentrated in Honduras, which was badly affected by Hurricane Eta and Hurricane Iota.

Hurricane Eta resulted in severe infrastructure damage in parts of Honduras.  Many roads were impassable, and many homes were completely flooded. During this difficult time, the facilities of the cooperative supported by Strauss Coffee served as a refuge for the employees and their families. The company also provided the families with supplies – water, food, mattresses, clothing, blankets, alcohol/gel, masks, etc. Furthermore, in order to assist them in returning to normal, donations were collected to purchase basic household equipment such as ovens, refrigerators and beds. In addition, Strauss Coffee donated to the fund to assist the victims of the hurricanes in Honduras.

This activity supports 2 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • Gender Equality (5)
  • Decent work and economic growth (8)