Female unpaid work saves more than 3,000 soles ($ 841 USD) per hectare in coffee plots
- Women participate in at least 45% of farming activities
- 30% of the production units are driven by women
- Over 50 female leaders participated in the IX National Meeting of Female Coffee Growers
A female coffee grower works three times as much as her male counterpart, since apart from working at home and in the community, she works in the field doing the same activities as a male farmer. The President of the National Coordinator of Female Coffee Growers (CONAMUCC) Lucila Quintana Acuña remarked that women are present in all the stages of the coffee production process but however are neither recognized nor compensated.
Another important fact, according to the latest Agricultural Census, is that 30% of the production units are driven by women.
“Women are present from seed selection, soil preparation, planting, pruning until the end of the production process, except marketing. They aceept what their husband assigns them to do, which is why from the National Coffee Board we seek for women to be recognized as being part of the economic development of their community, to feel valued and to ensure their economic independence, ” stated Lucila.
The work of the female coffee grower, of at least 8 hours a day in the field, is free. It is estimated that per hectare the contribution of women is roughly 3.400 soles ($ 950 USD), as stated by María Mercedes Medina, National Coordinator of the SCAN Peru Platform and National Co-coordinator of the Sustainable Development Model for Peruvian Coffee Project, implemented by SCAN and the Junta Nacional de Café (National Coffee Board) and funded by the IDB and the Swiss Economic Cooperation SECO .
This data was shared in the IX National Meeting of Women Coffee Growers organized by the National Coffee Board, in which 52 female leaders participated from 6 regions: Amazonas, San Martin, Junin, Cajamarca, Cusco and Puno.
María Mercedes Medina Muñoz recalled that many women in the coffee sector are living in poverty, 39% have no access to drinking water, 32% have no toilets or drains, 56% lack access to electricity, and 21% of the women are illiterate.
In this context many are content with low production and their poor economic situation.
But this reality can change by supporting farms designed with a vision of sustainability: ecological, economic and social returns. As well as entrepreneurship.
What are sustainably designed farms like? They are diversified farms, where coffee is the main value chain, is grown by applying a series of ecological and agricultural practices for the coffee sector, such as: Tissue management by pruning and selecting sprouts, the use of seeds and quality seedlings, applying fertilizer according to the interpretation of soil testing results, pest management, use of tolerant or resistant varieties and different agroforestry models.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND DIVERSIFICATION
With regard to entrepreneurship, the specialist urged women to think of profitable alternatives that complement coffee farming such as:
- Marketing seedlings of these species from their own nurseries.
- Marketing forest species by harvest – this represents savings for old age.
- Marketing the species of fruit by harvest .
- Production and marketing of organic fertilizers: from guinea pigs and others.
Finally, Lucila Quintana urged women to overcome barriers of sexism and poverty as well as to form partnerships and to create business models.
The leader also urged the government to further support women in the agricultural sector, since by training women, the whole family is being trained. “By training a woman you are ensuring a family’s general training because women not only see their own issues but also worry about their husband and children,” she said.
The IX National Meeting of Female Coffee Growers was held on 9 and 10 December in the city of Lima, Peru.
The meeting was funded by the Café Correcto program, the European Union, ECO andino, SOS FAIM and the Sustainable Development Model for Peruvian Coffee Project – JNC/SCAN, IDB/MIF and SECO.