Farm Africa launches appeal to empower women in the coffee trade

Laura Price - 08/02/2019

After the success of its Growing Futures campaign, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants official charity partner, Farm Africa, is launching a new programme that will help marginalised women in Uganda to thrive in the coffee business.

In a region of Africa where female involvement in the coffee trade is limited to menial, labour-intensive roles, UK-based international development charity Farm Africa is planning a new scheme to empower women to enter the profit-making areas traditionally dominated by men. Launching today, the Coffee is Life appeal aims to raise £170,000, with the UK government matching all donations from the UK public.

Coffee is Life will benefit women like 68-year-old Joy Kabonde, who makes just 10 pence from every kilogram of coffee cherries she sells, meaning that, as sole wage earner, she must support her family on just £1.52 a week. By teaching farmers like Kabonde how to increase her coffee yield and improve its quality to meet the high standards of lucrative international markets, Farm Africa’s campaign helps provide mentoring and support. The charity is also setting up micro-processing stations throughout Kanungu in western Uganda so that farmers can process their cherries into high-quality coffee beans to sell for a much higher price.

Starting from September, Coffee is Life will offer female coffee producers in Kabonde’s region the opportunity to receive training in business and leadership skills, so that in an industry where women earn 38% less than men, they are better equipped to secure higher status jobs within coffee cooperatives. Farm Africa will also help the women to establish savings and loans associations so that they can save together and access funds to boost the size of their farms.

“After losing my husband, I became the sole breadwinner,” says Kabonde. “Through Farm Africa I hope to access training and education in coffee production. This way I can get better prices after harvesting the coffee, and have a higher income. […] With additional income, I would pay the children’s school fees so they can go to higher classes, and I will be able to cover health expenses for myself and the children.”

The Coffee is Life appeal begins after the success of Growing Futures, a Farm Africa project that raised £410,000 with UK Government matched funding, to help 2,000 farmers in Elgeyo Marakwet, western Kenya, to set up profitable horticulture businesses.

You can give farmers like Joy the opportunity to thrive by donating to Farm Africa’s Coffee is Life appeal at Donations made before 8 May 2019 will be matched by the UK government.

Header image: Joy Kabonde

Now watch Joan Roca, Gaggan Anand and Eneko Atxa as they champion Farm Africa's Chefs for Change initiative at #50BestTalks in San Sebastian:

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