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This Coffee Empowers Women (2023 Update)

Wednesday 8th March 2023

This Coffee Empowers Women (2023 Update)

by Admin

That's a bold claim; but, the outstanding work of these female farmers in Peru, supported by Cafe Femenino, means that it has become a reality. As part of B-Corp Month / International Women's Day, we recognise their amazing achievements over the last nineteen years and highlight why we continue supporting their efforts.

Over the last few years we have supported infrastructure projects with the women coffee farmers of Lambayeque, Peru; part of the ASPROAGRO Co-op from which we buy green coffee. Back in 2019, we funded three projects in the area, in partnership with the Café Fememino Foundation.

Together we can help to continue support of the Foundation to purchase materials and engineering for a rain-water storage and crop irrigation system in these remote mountainous coffee-growing communities. The work has provided water, not just for coffee growing, but for food crops to support the community during off-seasons.

By purchasing a bag of our Café Femenino, Peru Coffee, you will be directly supporting these communities. Purchase here

Dark Woods has been buying coffee from Café Femenino farmers in Peru for eight years now, and we are proud to work with them. We source from the ASPROAGRO Coffee Farmer Co-operative which, unusually in Latin America, is  made up entirely of women coffee farmers. 

Whilst women have always been crucial to coffee production in Peru, men traditionally held economic power. In 2003, 464 female coffee farmers in Peru united to change this and take a step toward empowerment. They decided to separate their coffee production from the men to obtain visibility and better financial reward for their labour, and a voice within their community.

Working in partnership with OPTCO in the USA, they developed a market for women-produced coffee to serve as an important vehicle for social change and the empowerment of impoverished, marginalised women coffee farmers. Since then, the Café Femenino movement now includes thousands of women farmers in nine countries across the world.

Coffee roasters, like Dark Woods, who buy from Café Femenino farmers pay above-market prices for the coffee as well as an additional premium for each kilo of coffee bought. This premium goes, as a donation, to the Café Femenino Foundation, a charity that provides practical and educational support directly to the communities in which the women coffee farmers live.

The real value of Café Femenino and the women-led farmer cooperatives on the ground is summed up perfectly by Sabina, a coffee farmer and member of the CECANOR Cooperative: “We have used the money we’ve received from the Café Femenino premium to invest in improving our homes, providing education for our daughters, and improving the food that we feed our families. Café Femenino has been wonderful in improving the self-esteem and empowerment of the women in our community.” – Sabina, Cecanor, Peru.

Now in 2023, we have an update on the projects we funded back in 2019/20, in addition to our coffee purchase premiums, we also directly funded three community projects through the Café Femenino Foundation in Peru, here’s how they are getting on.

~ Construction of Wet Mill Tank Modules – Machucara community-Hierba Buena-Santa Rose-Espinal (Kanaris)

In years past the coffee producers in this area have been hit by coffee rust, but they are making extraordinary efforts to renovate their coffee farms in order to maintain the income to support their families need to substantially improve the quality of their coffee and balance their income by achieving a better market price. In order to do this they have improved their wet mill beneficio infrastructure. They have a good quality coffee plant due to the quality of the soils and the microclimates that exist in the region.

Unfortunately, the quality decreased every step of the way during the harvesting process due to not having the wet mill infrastructure needed to process the coffee crop properly. This project has now supported coffee producers with the implementation of the wet mill beneficio infrastructure consisting of two ceramic lined fermentation tanks and seven cement drying patios.

Results will be measured by recording the quality of the coffee delivered by the producers; the quality of the coffee in the cup; prices obtained for the coffee; participation in coffee quality competitions and the income received from the sale of their coffee.

~ Water Reservoir Construction (x2) – in the communities of Pampa Hermosa and Naranjo (Kanaris)

Climate change has seriously affected coffee and food cultivation in the community of La Cria. Rains have been reduced to only 4 months per year. Through the system of water channels the community has been able to distribute water quotas to the producers in a way that reduces flooding and distributes the water as needed for crop production. This has implemented a sprinkler irrigation system that allows sufficient water in the times of coffee flowering and delivers water needed during coffee and food productions. The sprinkler system water management has improved the quality of all crops and improve the quality of life.

Funds have been used to purchase the 2500 mts of irrigation pipes needed, as well as fencing and some technical assistance. 15 families (45 people) have directly benefited from this irrigation system and has indirectly benefited 120 children, improving their food diet through the increased production of vegetables, grains and fruits; reducing malnutrition.


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