Fairtrade invests in female coffee farmers in Kenya

Fairtrade Africa and the Fairtrade Foundation are launching a project to assist 150 women to take ownership of coffee farms in Kenya. Fairtrade’s Growing Women in Coffee aims to enable female coffee farmers in the Kapkiyai Cooperative to earn an income independent from their husbands for the first time. According to Fairtrade, female farmers in Kenya rarely own land or coffee bushes, despite contributing up to 70 per cent of the labour required to plant, grow and harvest coffee. “These assets usually belong to the men in the family and as a result, women are unable to join farming cooperatives or earn an income for their labour,” said Fairtrade. “But research shows that when women are in control of more household income, there are improved outcomes in areas such as health, education and investments.” Around 300 women in the Kabngetuny Cooperative have already benefitted from an asset transfer program and will now receive agricultural training. Fairtrade said green energy’ biogas units will be constructed in the women’s homes to reduce smoke exposure and time spent collecting firewood. Fairtrade Africa is working on a separate project with the Kipkelion Union, which brings together 32 cooperatives including Kapkiyai and Kabngetuny, to develop and market a branded ‘women’s coffee’ for sale within Kenya. “By working with the women in these co-operatives to roast, grind, package and sell their beans as ‘women’s coffee’, we hope they will be able to increase the amount they sell on Fairtrade terms, which will bring benefits for their whole community,” said David Finlay, Fundraising Manager at Fairtrade Foundation. The Growing Women in Coffee project will receive funding from the Big Lottery Fund, plus additional funding from the Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission, and will be delivered with support from local partners, Solidaridad Eastern and Central Africa Expertise Center and Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers.
(image by Fairtrade Foundation)

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