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Creating social change with female coffee farmers

Creating social change with female coffee farmers

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International NGO Farm Africa are helping woman change the face of the coffee industry in Western Uganda. Global coffee prices are at the lowest they have been in 16 years meaning that being a small holder farm owner is extremely challenging and few producers are able to make a profit.

Woman are greatly affected by this as they tend to have less access to land, coffee plants and finance options. Woman are also under-represented in coffee cooperatives even though they contribute the bulk of related labour and generate its value in the coffee growing region of Kanungu.

Men have the monopoly over coffee processing and marketing meaning they have control over the income generated but woman in Kanungu are working to change that with the help of International NGO Farm Africa. The aim is to empower young female coffee farmers to boost yields and earn more from their efforts meaning they can overcome the barriers stopping them from thriving in this industry.

Funding has come from the European Union and the UK government with Farm Africa training lead farmers and cooperative staff to deliver knowledge of sustainable production to meet high demand. Farm Africa will also look to support the planting of new coffee plants, use of fertilisers and training for commercial coffee production. Farmers will also be receiving support to add value to their products through micro washing stations and storage solutions.

The programme is helping young female farmers and groups of women become part of coffee cooperatives and is working with families to build up their businesses and gain control and access to land. Female farmers are also being given advice on saving and loan associations to help with funding their endeavours.

This combined package of support is specifically designed to ensure the female farmers increase their earning by selling more of their crop, even while the global price is low.

In October, female farmers from Kanungu took part in the Thousand Trees Challenge, working with senior members from the British food industry to plant 1,000 fruit trees to boost soil quality and improve food security in the region. The challenge has raised over £50,000 for Farm Africa.

The Thousand Trees Challenge was organised as part of Farm Africas Food for Good network, which unites global food and farming businesses behind the power of food to change lives in eastern Africa. The support that these farmers are receiving is life changing and it means that more woman and children can be independent, gain an education and have a better quality of life.

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