Why focus on women in coffee producing communities?
The global coffee market is expanding; consumption around the world continues to grow. Specialty coffee trends are generating enthusiasm and engaging a new pool of young consumers. At the same time, the industry faces significant risks to supply linked to climate change, plant disease, food insecurity, aging farming populations and out-migration from farming communities, among other issues. Real concern exists that supply will not keep pace with market opportunities.
Fortunately a hidden resource exists to help address these global problems: coffee’s women. The development sector has confirmed that social return on investment in women is high, and points to a competitive advantage held by those communities where women have the opportunity to contribute to their potential. However, throughout coffee-producing regions, women are overburdened with domestic and productive responsibilities, undervalued and lacking compensation for their work, and as a result, disenfranchised and disengaged from their desire and capability to fully contribute. In most coffee-producing communities, women do much of the work, yet it is predominantly men who have access to the land and resources and who are targeted for training investments.
As a result, the industry fails to capture the full benefit of the human potential in these communities. Furthermore, the negative consequences of this imbalance—such as domestic violence, alcoholism and lack of resources dedicated to education and healthcare for families—wreak havoc on not only short-term productivity and coffee quality, but the long-term health of coffee communities and, therefore, the coffee industry.
The global coffee industry can no longer afford to let these significant capabilities go to waste as we try to resolve the monumental global challenges that threaten to disrupt the supply of quality coffee upon which our businesses thrive. Engaging the full capabilities of women and men in coffee producing communities and throughout the value chain will be what assures a sustainable coffee future.
JavaJog for A Cause connects these women to the coffee community and funnels resources to projects that enable them to improve their position, their well-being and that of their families, farms, communities and organizations.