Coffee production and distribution creates great inequities and environmental harm the world over, yet it is also consumed on a daily basis by a great deal of the adult world. This is the story of Cafe Femenino, a women’s coffee co-operative in Peru, which is striving to make positive change in the communities of its member farmers and in the lives of women at large.
From Cafe Feminino‘s website:
Coffee is the second largest traded commodity in the world next to oil. Women coffee producers make up 30 percent of the 25 million coffee growers that are responsible for producing 75 percent of the world’s coffee. Harsh gender inequality, poverty and abuse are rampant in these coffee production regions. Most women coffee producers have no rights, no income and are abandoned by their husbands.
With determination and desire for a better future, over 460 women coffee producers in Peru united to take a step toward achieving empowerment. This step came in the form of growing, harvesting and producing their own coffee called Café Femenino. Organic Products Trading Company (OPTCO) along with CECANOR Cooperative, PROASSA, CICAP and Cordaid joined forces to support the women in their efforts to achieve their goals. Together, the Café Femenino Coffee Project was founded in 2004.
Today, the Café Femenino Coffee Project is a social program for women coffee producers in rural communities around the world. More than 1,500 women in Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru are active in the project to achieve empowerment, build social and support networks, and earn incomes through the production and sale of the Café Femenino Coffee. The success of the Project initiated the creation of The Café Femenino Foundation, which provides grants to select programs and projects that enhance the lives of women and their families in coffee growing communities around the world.
The Café Femenino Coffee is imported exclusively by OPTCO and distributed by more than 80 roasters whom pay a premium above the fair trade price. Café Femenino is high-quality, organic coffee that is left unblended to preserve the acidity, body, flavor and aroma that are unique to each Café Femenino Coffee variety. Café Femenino Coffee is sold at retail locations nationwide. For more information, please visit our coffee sources page.
|CommunityIn these areas of lower cultural living standards, women are not only isolated, but mistreated physically and emotionally. With little resources, the coffee family prefers to invest available resources in educating the sons. The daughter stays home, devoting herself to chores around the house and watching over the farm. They usually marry between 12 and 16 years old.Until now, women have only been allowed to participate in the domestic work of the home. If allowed to join work groups, it has been only in a passive role.Insufficient funds and a full spectrum of social problems have hindered attempts to intervene. But with the organic premiums paid by OPTCO and the Fair Trade premiums, we are now able to promote the organization of the female coffee farmers and their integration into social, political, and occupational organizations.
The hope is that by changing the roles of women we improve the quality of life in these communities and build a sustainable economic system.
|The objectives of the Cafe Femenino Coffee Project are:To strengthen/fortify a sense of self-esteem and the re-evaluation of women’s roles in the development of the base of their coffee organization.
To watch a clip from the documentary film Strong Coffee: The Story of Cafe Femenino, click below.