Empowering female coffee farmers

Farm Africa

Farm Africa

Premium Supplier 20th January 2021
Farm Africa

Farm Africa

Premium Supplier

Empowering female coffee farmers

Kanungu in western Uganda is a major coffee growing area. The high altitude and tropical climate provide ideal conditions for coffee production. 

Despite coffee’s profit-making potential, women in Kanungu are unable to make a sufficient living through coffee farming. It is men who usually control the sale of coffee and make decisions regarding the profits. 

“Traditionally, the coffee was for a man and us women were not benefitting anything from that coffee,” commented 23-year-old coffee farmer Hildah Turyamusiima. 

A recent Farm Africa report found that women in Kanungu contribute 58 per cent of the labour during the fieldwork and harvest stage of coffee production, and 72 per cent of the labour during post-harvest handling. 

However, women are not getting their fair share of the profits from coffee. Female coffee farmers lack access to the land, coffee trees and finance needed to grow their businesses, and are poorly represented in the cooperatives that sell the coffee. 

With UK government matched funding to Farm Africa’s Coffee is Life UK Aid Match appeal in 2019, the charity is working with female coffee farmers, coffee cooperatives and local authorities to close the gender gap in Kanungu’s coffee industry. 

The project is helping women gain access to finance by taking part in village savings and loan associations. 

Often daughters in Kanungu receive markedly less land than sons, or are totally excluded from land agreements. Farm Africa is working with families to introduce voluntary household land-use agreements that give women control over a designated portion of land to grow their coffee on. 

“When female farmers prosper, the benefits are felt by all: the hard-working women themselves, the children who they invest in and the economies that they drive,” commented Rachel Beckett, Farm Africa’s Country Director in Uganda. 

So far, the project has been a success. A Farm Africa survey of 348 female coffee farmers conducted in November 2020 showed that 89% of women now actively input into decision making on agricultural production compared to only 22% in 2019. 

The survey also found that female coffee farmers are benefitting from having more control over household income, access to leadership roles within their coffee groups and cooperatives, and greater access to land. 

To find out more about Farm Africa’s work with female coffee farmers in Uganda, visit www.farmafrica.org/women-in-coffee

Video and photo: Farm Africa / Jjumba Martin

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