Coffee Industry Leaders Unite with Mercy Corps & Aldea Global to Help Nicaraguan Coffee Farmers Combat Seasonal Hunger

  Coffee Industry Leaders Unite with Mercy Corps & Aldea Global to Help
  Nicaraguan Coffee Farmers Combat Seasonal Hunger

    Coalition of five organizations funds work improving food security for
                          vulnerable coffee-growers

Business Wire

PORTLAND, Ore. -- January 30, 2013

In coffee growing areas of Central America, seasonal hunger is a common
problem. While coffee farming provides families with income for several months
of the year, the harvest cycle followed by rainy season leaves some families
without food or income for five to seven months. These are known as the “thin
months.”

In a bold move to fight seasonal hunger in coffee producing countries, five
coffee industry leaders – Counter Culture Coffee, Farmer Brothers, Green
Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR), Starbucks Coffee Company
(NASDAQ: SBUX) and Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers – have come together
to form the Coffeelands Food Security Coalition. In partnership with the
global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps and the Nicaraguan organization
Asociación “Aldea Global” Jinotega, these companies will help coffee farming
families in Jinotega Department – the source of 60 percent of Nicaragua’s
coffee – combat seasonal hunger.

“Working with coffee producing families in Indonesia and Guatemala, we have
seen the tremendous day-to-day challenges of the ‘thin months,’” said Kathy
Fry, regional program director for Mercy Corps. “We have a long-standing
relationship with Aldea Global; they are an important local partner, and
well-positioned to address the issue of hunger and poverty in the heart of the
coffee value chain. Together, we will strive to ensure these coffee farmers
have the knowledge, tools and resources to feed their families year-round.”

The three-year Empowering Food Secure Communities program will work with 150
women and their families to help them improve farming and business techniques,
develop additional sources of income through home gardens and diversified crop
production as well as engage more effectively with local government to provide
assistance to the hungriest families.

Increased crop yields and diversified economic opportunities will support
household consumption during the “thin months,” and will allow farmers to earn
more income by selling surplus produce in the local market. Farmers will
participate in educational sessions on financial literacy, pest management,
crop rotation, micro-irrigation, water and soil conservation, as well as
proper storage and handling techniques. The Empowering Food Secure Communities
program will also strive to achieve gender equality in the traditionally
male-dominated culture by promoting gender education, improving women’s access
to credit and identifying business opportunities at local markets.

“Studies show that providing educational and economic opportunities for women
will lead to improved, sustained living standards,” explained Warren
Armstrong, General Manager of Asociación “Aldea Global” Jinotega. “Aldea
Global is looking for a transformative approach in the role of women – with
the support of her family – to contribute significantly towards their family’s
economic resiliency during these ‘thin months.’”

The work in Jinotega also has an important disaster risk reduction component.
According to the 2011 Global Climate Risk Index (CRI) report, Nicaragua is the
fourth most vulnerable country in the world to weather-related disasters like
droughts and hurricanes. These disasters can cause massive crop destruction.
To adapt to and mitigate this severe weather, Mercy Corps and Aldea Global
will teach farmers ways to better prepare for natural disasters.
“Climate-smart” gardens will allow women to conserve water for crop irrigation
during dry periods, as well as protect crops from pest infestation and bad
weather.

As the specialty coffee community discovered the extent to which coffee
farmers were struggling to feed their children, it became clear that the
problem was too big for one company to tackle alone. According to Shauna
Alexander Mohr, coordinator of the Coffeelands Food Security Coalition, “these
five companies have forged an unprecedented effort to work together - with one
another, with nonprofit partners, and with coffee farmers themselves - to make
a difference. New kinds of partnerships are necessary for solutions to emerge
in our common fight against seasonal hunger.”

The Empowering Food Secure Communities is the inaugural project of the
Coffeelands Food Security Coalition. The alliance is committed to bringing
awareness to the issue of seasonal hunger and plans additional projects in
other coffee producing countries and communities. For more information, visit:
www.mercycorps.org/Coffeelands.

About Asociación Aldea Global Jinotega
Asociación “Aldea Global” Jinotega was formed by 22 small-scale farmers in
1992. Together small-scale farmers, leaders in services and profitable
agricultural businesses, are working in harmony with God, the environment,
social responsibility and gender equity to be instrumental in the progress of
Nicaragua’s rural families. Today, Aldea Global has grown to 1,429 active
members.

About Coffeelands Food Security Coalition
The Coffeelands Food Security Coalition is a new, collaborative project of
leading companies in the specialty coffee industry that aims to develop,
enable and disseminate solutions to seasonal hunger in coffee producing
countries.

About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps helps people turn the crises they confront into the opportunities
they deserve. Driven by local needs, our programs provide communities in the
world’s toughest places with the tools and support they need to transform
their own lives. Our worldwide team in 41 countries is improving the lives of
19 million people. For more information, see mercycorps.org.

Contact:

Mercy Corps
Lindsay Murphy, 503-896-5700
lmurphy@mercycorps.org