Giving Women Farmers a Voice
Café Femenino Foundation provides funding to support grant requests from women in coffee producing regions around the world.
Women farmers have always been essential to the coffee industry, but they haven’t always received financial control or decision-making power. In 2004, a group of 464 women farmers in northern Peru decided to change this dynamic by separating their coffee production from men’s. Their coffee cooperative CECANOR joined their commercial partner Organic Products Trading Company (OPTCO) to create Café Femenino—a program dedicated to supporting social justice and empowerment for women coffee producers worldwide.
The Café Femenino program has since partnered with women coffee farmers in remote, poverty-stricken regions across the world to provide them with fair pay, better opportunities and a stronger voice within their communities. Café Femenino has grown steadily over the years—spreading out from Peru to include women coffee farmers in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Rwanda and Sumatra.
How it Works
The participating women coffee farmers of Café Femenino receive a higher premium for their high-quality beans along with political and economic benefits including legal rights to their land, leadership positions within their cooperatives, and the opportunity to contribute to financial and business decisions. Many participating women coffee farmers have noted a positive shift within their communities, including reduction in physical, emotional, and sexual abuse; increase in family incomes; increase in men participating in childcare and domestic responsibilities; increase in school attendance among girls; and higher self-esteem from recognition for the work they do in the home and on the farm.
Café Femenino brand coffee is developed, administered and imported exclusively by Organic Products Trading Company and is distributed to more than 250 roasters across the US, Canada, Australia, UK, and Europe. To further support women coffee farmers and their communities, participating coffee roasters are required to donate a percentage of every coffee purchase to the Café Femenino Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization that funds community betterment grant requests proposed and managed by the women farmers.
“When women receive their Café Femenino premium, initially men would stare in disbelief because they’re getting more money, but slowly they’re getting used to it and understanding what Café Femenino is. It’s important for consumers to know the support that Café Femenino provides and know that their money goes directly to the producers and their families.”— Luisa Marroquin Guarchaj, former coordinator of the Guatemala Café Femenino Women's Group in the Nahuala Cooperative.