Steps towards equity: our new selection of Women Coffee Producers
The Women Coffee Producers (WCP) program was built for women coffee producersto raise awareness of gender inequity and inequality issues in coffee-producing countries, and to financially empower women growers through our sourcing and sales efforts. For this project, we source coffees from women in associations and cooperatives, paying them a gender-equity premium on top of the quality-based initial price of their coffee.
Gender inequity exists in most—probably all—industries worldwide, but our interests and business are with coffee, and as we’ve become increasingly aware of the disparities along the supply chain, we’ve become more and more committed to contributing to positive change wherever and however we can. By sourcing coffees grown by women producers in this way, we seek to financially empower them within their families, communities, and within the industry, we hope to make positive strides toward increasing women’s visibility within the supply chain, as well as to assist in protecting the sustainability of their very necessary contributions.
Over the past several years, we have seen increased interest in the program from origin, with mixed-membership cooperatives asking how their women producer members can establish their own products through lot separation, and we’ve also encountered more and more women-only groups whose visions are a perfect match for the WCP line.
“All over the world, I’ve seen many companies promoting women’s projects,” says green-coffee buyer Luis Arocha. “At the origin level, people are curious to how they can be a part of it. There’s a lot of willingness to support projects like this.”
The Women Coffee Producers program was established by Mr. Piero Cristiani. It was after meeting the CODECH group in Guatemala that he saw more and more interest in this kind of gender-equity work from all sides.
We are therefore very proud to present to you, with the support of Café Import, the coffee of ASMUCAFE. The grouping presents itself as Asociación de Mujeres Agropecuarias de Uribe, an organization of farmers and landowners in El Tambo, a municipality in Cauca. The mission of women as an association is to improve the quality of life of their families through the cultivation of coffee and to contribute positively to their community by working together and by sharing resources, knowledge and a network of support.
The coffee, all of which is of Castillo or Colombia variety, is picked as purple (Castillo) or bright red (Colombia) cherry, and undergoes a somewhat unusual "double" fermentation process, as the women describe it: First, the cherries are left in the loading hoppers for 14 hours, then they are depulped in the afternoons and evening hours and placed into traditional open fermentation tanks for another 10 hours. Then they are washed three to four times before being dried either in parabolic dryers or in the sun for 8–12 days.