Inclusion of Tanzanian women and youth in sustainable coffee farming

February 24, 2016

Hivos East Africa, in collaboration with the Twin &Twin Trading Ltd, have unveiled a new partnership to promote a sustainable coffee sector in Tanzania through inclusion of women and youth.

Funded by Comic Relief, the gender and generational empowerment programme will specifically promote the inclusion of women and youth to increase productivity, quality and farmer outcomes.

Hivos East Africa Regional Director, Mendi Njonjo, and Twin’s Head of Coffee Programme, Christina Ruiz, signed a MoU to start the project’s implementation. The MoU spells out the focus and specialty area each organisation brings to building a sustainable coffee sector in Tanzania.

Tanzania produces about 800,000 bags of coffee a year, with 955 coming from smallholder farmers mainly in the Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions. However, the region faces several challenges in providing a secure livelihood for smallholder coffee farmers: low productivity, deterioration of coffee quality due to lack of facilities and a volatile market dominated by brokerage.

Women and youth with potential to influence the sector have often been left out of the value chain and therefore miss business opportunities and the ability to bring change.

Hivos and the Twin Ltd will work with the Vuasu Cooperative Union (VCU) to attract specialty buyers, facilitate access to working capital through business support and provide training for quality control and price risk management. By focusing on women and youth along the value chain, the project will enhance their decision-making power and control over assets and ensure equal access to income and extension services.

The programme will also use gender action learning systems (GALS) tools that promote gender and generational equality and women’s empowerment through a series of trainings aimed at improving agricultural and coffee processing practices.

Project overview

  • Gender equality: enabling equal representation of women and youth in the cooperative through increasing membership access and leadership positions.
  • Agricultural model: piloting a scalable, sustainable model that will enable smallholder farmers to access sustainable production extension services and knowledge. This model includes a caveat regarding environmental sustainability
  • Increasing incomes through access to higher value markets: facilitating relationships with international buyers. The cooperative union will receive support to take part in international trade fairs such as the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) or the Africa Fine Coffee Association (AFCA).
  • Influencing the coffee sector through advocacy: targeting the local government to integrate GALS tools into extension services and designing business cases around gender and youth interventions.

Hivos has been working to improve the position of smallholders in the coffee value chain for over 20 years. Together with local partners, we help them improve coffee yields and overall farm sustainability and viability.

The Twin&Twin Ltd works with over 50 organisations in Africa, Latin America and Asia to capture value for smallholder farmers and promote economic development, social justice and environmental sustainability.

VCU has over 30 years’ experience in facilitating market access for smallholder farmers through organising coffee collection and delivery to the Tanzania auction system and administering payments to farmers.