Inclusion of women and youth in sustainable coffee farming

February 22, 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, this project will specifically promote the inclusion of women and youth as an approach to increasing productivity, quality and farmer outcomes.

To start off the project’s implementation, an MoU was signed by Hivos East Africa’s Regional Director: Mendi Njonjo and Twin’s Head of Coffee Programme: Christina Ruiz. The MoU spells out the focus and specialty area each organization brings into the implementation of the project to build a sustainable coffee sector in Tanzania.

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

Women and youth whose potential can influence the sector have often been left out in the value chain missing out on the business opportunities and 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 providing 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 ensuring equal access to income and extension services.

The project will also use gender action learning systems (GALS) tools adopted from a previous coffee partnership project in the region that sought to promote gender and generational equality and women’s empowerment to improve agricultural and coffee processing practices through a series of trainings.

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 the small holder farmers to access extension services and knowledge to implement sustainable production. This model will include a caveat of environmental sustainability
  • Increasing incomes through access to higher value markets- Facilitating relationships with international buyers. The cooperative union will be facilitated 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 small holders’ position in the coffee value chain for over 20 years. Together with local partners, it helps smallholders to improve their coffee yields and overall farm sustainability and viability.

The Twin&Twin Ltd works with over 50 organizations 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 of facilitating market access for smallholder farmers through organizing coffee collection and delivery to the Tanzania auction system and administering payments to farmers.