In an attempt to recognize and promote the work that women do in growing and producing coffees around the world, we have developed and hope to expand a program that empowers women along the global coffee supply chain by creating equity, empowerment, and access to a wider market. We have been working with women producer groups over the past five years and have now formalized these efforts into a program, eager to expand into other origins.
While the role of women is culturally distinct from region to region within the coffee-producing world, we have created a set of base guidelines for the organizations and communities whose coffees are highlighted in this program, which helps us to work collaboratively with the growers to establish premiums and parameters for their participation.
At its base, a Women Coffee Producers coffee lot is:
· sourced through a democratically organized collective or group which comprises at least a significant voting percentage of active female coffee growers (more than 25% participation), or from groups entirely comprising female members and/or participants.
· purchased at a premium price above the average market value for the coffee, with the application of that premium decided upon by a majority of the group. The use of this premium will vary based on the needs of the women; in the past, these premiums have been used to build organic vegetable gardens (CESMACH, Mexico), dry-mill facilities (CODECH, Guatemala), and education and training programs related to sustainability practices (Gayo Megah Berseri, Sumatra). In some cases, the premium may simply be distributed among the group members in order to create equity and to raise their standard of living.
· given ample market representation as a lot that seeks to create equity, equality, and recognition for the normally marginalized female members of the supply chain.
· traceable to the organizational level, if not to the individual producer level, with particular attention given to the membership structure of the organization.
· a potential for a long-term relationship in which increased market accessibility creates the opportunity and incentive to improve coffee quality, thereby earning increased cup-based premium in future harvests.
A.M.A.C.A (Association de Mujeres Productoras Agropecuarias del Cauca) is the latest partnership in our Women Coffee Producer program. Located in the Colombian municipality of El Tambo, Cauca, this collective is made up of 140 female producers. After cupping a sample of their coffee this past July, we decided to drive to the township of San Joaquin and meet them - they're inspiring. The average size of land is just a single hectare per member, most of whom are the heads of their households. The members of AMACA are passionate, strong-willed, and have a deep sense of family values that seems almost magnified within the group as a whole. The premium included in the support of this coffee will most likely go towards the construction of a building where the members can store and cup their future harvests.