The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are establishing a volunteer program to help improve the livelihoods of coffee farmers. This program - known as the Coffee Corps - is an example of how the private and public sectors can work together to address the serious problems being faced by coffee farmers around the world. USAID will provide initial funding for establishment of the Coffee Corps and travel costs for volunteers. CQI will use its unique position within the coffee industry to leverage highly skilled professionals willing to donate their time and expertise to assist coffee producers overseas.
"I believe that making coffee experts available to work directly with groups at origin is another important step in the efforts being made to address the coffee crisis," said Gerald Baldwin, Chairman of the CQI Board of Trustees and former chairman of Peet's Coffee & Tea. "The Coffee Corps represents a new part of CQI's mission which is to focus not only on coffee science and sustainability, but also service."
"USAID is delighted to partner with CQI to establish the Coffee Corps, an innovative way to address the crisis facing small coffee farmers around the world. This is exactly the kind of program we had in mind when Secretary of State Colin Powell announced USAID's Global Development Alliance," said Andrew S. Natsios, the Administrator of USAID. "This new initiative is designed to improve the effectiveness of America's foreign assistance program by drawing forth the expertise, technology and resources of private corporations and others to help poor countries grow out of poverty. By mobilizing top level expertise on a volunteer basis from U.S. coffee companies, the Coffee Corps program will help small farmers improve the quality of their production and tap into high paying markets that would have been inaccessible to them."
The mission of Coffee Corps is to enhance the livelihoods of coffee farmers, workers, and entrepreneurs in developing countries and to help ensure a reliable supply of quality coffee for the world. The Coffee Corps is a group of volunteers passionate about coffee and willing to share their time and talent with coffee farmers and coffee communities. Coffee Corps volunteers will develop projects to address the business needs identified locally. Potential projects may range from providing cupping training, consulting on post-harvest processing improvements, to environmental issues.
"I am very pleased that Ted Lingle, Executive Director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, and Robert Nelson, President and CEO of the National Coffee Association, are serving as honorary co-chairs of the Coffee Corps. The support of Ted and Robert demonstrates the high level of interest that the coffee industry has in trying to help make a difference during these difficult times," said Margaret Swallow, Executive Director of the Coffee Quality Institute.
Individuals interested in volunteering can apply via the www.coffeecorps.org website or by calling 888- 292-9479. Groups interested in requesting Coffee Corps assistance can gain more information by visiting the www.coffeecorps.org website or by calling 888-292-9479. Applications for assistance received by February 28, 2003 will be reviewed during the month of March.
The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) was established in 1996 and is focused on coffee science, sustainability, and service. CQI believes that applying scientific and technical advances to the improvement of quality coffee production, processing, and preparation will lead to an improved quality of life throughout the coffee value chain from seed to cup.
The U.S. Agency for International Development administers U.S. foreign assistance programs, providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.