One of the world’s largest volume purchasers of green coffee, Israel’s Strauss Coffee has committed to a long-term partnership program with women-led coffee producing organizations in several countries throughout the world.
In 2017, the program involves investment in six long-term projects — three already existing and three yet to take shape — with an annual investment of about $500,000, a Strauss representative recently told Daily Coffee News.
Strauss cites research showing that show that women undertake approximately 70 percent of the fieldwork in the international coffee market, yet typically own only approximately 15 percent of the land, processing facilities, and traded product. The group also points to research suggesting a number of familial and community benefits when women in coffee-growing families have more control over the family income.
In addition to simply purchasing coffees from the women producer organizations involved in the program, Strauss is committing to additional financial support, and coffee- and technological-development support. The Strauss representative told Daily Coffee News that development goals, such as infrastructure needs, will be identified by the farmers and producer organizations themselves.
The individual partnerships already underway include a Strauss investment in Rebuilding Women’s Hope, a local association of women in the coffee-growing region of Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In partnership with Coffeelac and Shift Social Impact Solutions, Strauss will help finance seasonal agronomy training and the construction and revitalization of washing stations.
In Honduras, Strauss is investing in the 286-member COMUCAP women’s cooperative in La Paz, an organization that initially started as a radio show in 1993 to support local women and has since grown to provide a number of personal and business resources for its members, in addition to producing top-quality coffee. Strauss will primarily be assisting in infrastructure development, including new mechanical coffee dryers.
In Vietnam, Strauss is investing in a program called “Building Women Capacity in Vietnam,” designed to support some 300 women coffee growers. Strauss has committed to purchasing robusta as part of the program, while investing in processing machinery, other equipment, and fruit- and shade-tree planting. In partnership with ACOM and a local Vietnamese sustainability company, the company will also help organize women into cooperative work programs.