Café Femenino is certified organic, fair-trade coffee, produced organically and sustainably under equitable labour practices. Part of the proceeds of each pound sold goes directly to the women to spend as they see fit in order to improve their lives and their communities. Since its inception, Café Femenino has also helped women challenge gender inequality in various stages of the productive process. Now, at least one woman must serve on the Board of Directors of each coffee association that contributes to coffees imported by the Organic Products Trading Company. The same rule applies in CECANOR (Central de Cafetaleros del Nor Oriente).
Café Femenino producers participate in workshops where they reflect on issues of self-esteem and gender-based violence. Other workshops address capacity building and the more technical and economic aspects of improving Café Femenino products. The women note that one of the things they love most about the Cafe Femenino initiative is the relationships they have developed with other women through these meetings.
Buying Café Femenino is a great way to support women coffee growers in Peru as well as the work of Heart-Links because $5 of every $15 of your coffee order goes directly to Heart-Links. Café Femenino is roasted locally by Patrick’s Beans so it is always fresh. Orders take 1 to 2 weeks to process. Pickup is from the Heart-Links office at Innovation Works, 201 King Street, London.
A Brief History of Peruvian Cafe Femenino:
In Peru, coffee is mostly produced by women in rural areas. But women seldom receive the economic or social benefits. In addition, almost half of these women suffer emotional and physical abuse and myriad forms of gender-based violence. Café Femenino is their struggle against poverty and patriarchy.
In 2003, the combined efforts of a local coffee exporter, a local NGO, the coffee cooperative CECANOR, and the women themselves led to a specialized and separate brand produced by women. In 2004, there were 464 women growers participating in the CECANOR cooperative; by 2006 the number grew to 755. Each day they assume more responsibilities not only in positions of leadership in grassroots organizations, but also at higher levels.
Revenue from Fair Trade sales has enabled CECANOR to
- Improve regional infrastructure. The cooperative has financed the repair of 75 kilometers of highway and the construction of over 12 kilometers of new highway. An improved road network has enabled CECANOR members to transport their coffee more efficiently.
- Protect the environment. Hillside farmers have planted live barriers, including coffee tree, to prevent erosion.
- Promote quality control. CECANOR employs two agronomists that implement technical assistance programs specific to each farm’s ecosystem and microclimate.
- Empower women. The cooperative founded four community banks that provide micro-credit to women for projects such as small restaurant development, parcel improvement, and sales to local markets.
- Provide pre-harvest credit. CECANOR supports its farmers economically when they need it most.
- Support healthcare. The cooperative employs healthcare professionals trained in primary care and provides first aid kits for each of its 43 communities.
In Peru, Café Femenino is changing lives, families and communities.