Typically, coffee farming is seen as a male dominated industry and we know this to be true from our own supply chain, with just under a quarter of the Fairtrade coffee farmers in our supply chains being women. However, we are also aware that this issue is often a problem of under-representation. In many cases, it is the male of the household who is formally registered as the landowner and as a cooperative member, though often his wife is as involved in the running of farming operations as he is.
Fairtrade is aware that there’s scope to improve how women are represented in cooperative structures which is why they have a strategic focus on improving gender equality. The key findings from a recent study show that their gender approach is making a difference – whether it’s through standards that call for equal opportunities for women to participate in producer organizations, investments in women-focused projects, or programmes that train them to be leaders and entrepreneurs.
Thanks to encouragement and support from organisations such as Fairtrade, many female farmers are challenging the norms and establishing all female groups. We’re delighted to work with one such group, AMPROCAL, who came together to represent female coffee entrepreneurs in Honduras.
Establishing an all-female group
AMPROCAL was established in 2007 by 8 women in the community of Pashapa, La Labor Ocotepeque. The goal was to strengthen the presence of female producers in the area. APROCAL dedicates itself to the processing and sale of certified coffees, the roasting of coffee for local sale and the microfinance of business opportunities for women members. There are now 134 female members who provide for their families and promote the socio-economic development of the municipality.
How has Fairtrade helped this all-women cooperative?
With funds from the Fairtrade Premium, AMPROCAL has invested in improving the capacity and condition of the organisation’s facilities like machinery and equipment, through the purchase of land.
They invest about 30% of the Fairtrade Premium funds in the delivery of organic fertilisers, fruit trees and tools.
AMPROCAL also offers biosafety kits to schools and health centres, farm labelling and cleaning campaigns, a preventative smear campaign for members and technical assistance to producers.
The impact of Fairtrade
AMPROCAL is a business that is focused on both the economic and social development of its members and communities. Through finance and education, AMPROCAL supports women to become better and more efficient farmers.
Delmy Regalado is President of the Honduras Chapter for International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) and she was instrumental in setting up AMPROCAL We asked her to explain why the Fairtrade Certification is so important:
“For us, Fairtrade was, is and always will be the best certification we can have. This certification is not just to help sell the coffees at fair prices; it helps us to be sustainable. The world is going through very hard times where it is very difficult for people to think of others, since they are trying to cope with the situation for themselves. So, if somebody decides to pay extra money for Fairtrade certified coffee we really appreciate it. We know these people have big, big hearts. We the Fairtrade Premium, the producers can sustain their farms, their families and give help to the community. I’d like to thank everyone in the process, from roasters to consumers, who ultimately make this project possible.”
AMPROCAL Producer Profiles
“Coffee passion comes from past generations in my family and I want to teach that same love to my children and grandchildren.”
– Socorro Reyes
“My father gave me a piece of land and actually, it helps us with the money we need for our family.”
– Norma Lara
Doris’ husband left her a plot and help her to sow it. Now she has two girls and one boy and the farm is still the main source of income for the family.