Monday, November 19, 2012

Meet 4 African Women Who Are Changing The Face Of Coffee

by ALLISON AUBREY originally published 
November 07, 2012 1:37 PM
Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit

These four women are at the forefront of change, empowering other women in the coffee industry (clockwise from top left): Angele Ciza, Fatima Aziz Faraji, Immy Kamarade and Mbula Musau.Karen Castillo Farfán/NPR

If you're a coffee drinker, chances are the cup of java you drank this morning was made from beans that were produced or harvested by women. Women's handprints can be found at every point in coffee production.

In fact, on family-owned coffee farms in Africa, about 70 percent of maintenance and harvesting work is done by women, according to an analysis by the International Trade Centre, but only rarely do women own the land or have financial control.

The International Women's Coffee Alliance (IWCA) is trying to change that by giving them access to training and networking, and the opportunity to develop new trade relationships.

We sat down recently with four African women on the cusp of change who were on a trip to Washington, D.C., sponsored jointly by the IWCA and the International Trade Centre's Women in Coffee Project. Here are their stories, in brief.

Angele Ciza of Burundi is ahead of her time; she owns the land she farms on. Her 10-hectare (24.7 acre) coffee plantation in the northern part of the country has some 26,000 trees producing Arabica coffee, and she's also purchased seven washing stations (part of the coffee processing procedure). She's employing about 100 women, and she also helps pay school fees for the children of her employees.

"We work very, very hard," says Ciza. Her vision for lifting more people out of poverty in her region is clear. "If you want to develop Burundi, you develop the women," she says.

Fatima Aziz Faraji agrees. She manages a family coffee farm called Finca Estate in Tanzania. She's pushed for a larger voice for women by filling the seats on coffee oversight boards traditionally reserved for men. For instance, she's getting ready to begin a stint on the Tanzanian Coffee Board, and she's a co-director of the Tanzania Coffee Research Institute.

So what is the IWCA's alliance doing for women in her country? She explains the IWCA is bringing women together who previously had no access to each other, or the outside world.

"The ones [women] who are doing well can help" the ones who are just getting started, she explains. "Some women are resistant because of their culture." They're not used to having financial control, Faraji explains. They need mentors — or "sisters," as she describes other women in coffee — to learn from.

When Immy Kamarade wanted to spend more time with her kids (sound familiar, working moms?), she knew she had to learn a new trade. She quit her job in the medical field and started a coffee business. She says she's now working as hard as ever, but it's more on her own terms. She's established a cooperative of 100 women who are producing and processing coffee in her home country of Rwanda.

"It's a new day for Rwanda," she says. As we've reported before, Rwanda is finding that producing premium coffee pays.

Women there never had access to education or rights to land ownership, but "today a woman owns land like her husband and signs on the land title, and a woman has a right to open a [banking] account."

Kamarade says the IWCA is helping to form connections with the people who are actually buying and consuming her coffee in the U.S. and elsewhere. And through these relationships, "we'll be able to access better markets now," she says.

Mbula Musau of Kenya holds one of the most coveted titles in the coffee industry: certified Q-grader. This means buyers know that she knows her stuff when it comes to grading the quality of a coffee bean. And she's also served as a sensory judge at the World Barista Championship competition.

She now works on the trade and marketing side of the industry, but as a "sister of coffee," as she calls herself, she wants to help empower women involved at all levels of coffee production in her country. "The majority of labor is women," Musua explains. By connecting them with women around the world, "it creates hope." And, she hopes, opportunities, too.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

SAVE THE DATE: 13 February 2013

3rd African Coffee Sustainability Forum, 

Following the success of the first and second African Coffee Sustainability Forums, the 4C Association in collaboration with AFCA and the Sustainable Coffee Program powered by IDH, and in close cooperation with the African research and science community, is organising the third edition of this event on 13 February in Kampala, Uganda. The Forum will take place as a backdrop to the 10th Africa Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition.

This 3rd Forum aims to build on the successes of the last and to act as a catalyst for the continued sustainable development of the African coffee sector. The event’s agenda is currently being prepared and will be announced at the beginning of December. Registration for the event will be open via for registered AFCA delegates and  for those only attending the forum.

To see what the Forum is all about, have a look at the videos, pictures and presentations from last time, which are available at  the this blog.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Top Sustainability Experts meet in Ethiopia, the legendary home of coffee

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 16 February 2012. Ato Fikru Amenu, Deputy Director in the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture launched the Second African Coffee Sustainability Forum: “Creating market access through sustainable practices” in Addis Ababa on 15 February 2012.Over 130 participants representing the main stakeholders in the African coffee sector took part in the event. The Forum was organized by the 4C Association and the Eastern African Fine Coffees Association (EAFCA) and built on the success of last year’s meeting in Arusha, Tanzania.
This year’s Forum focused on three main topics regarding sustainable coffee production: coffee quality and productivity, climate change and capacity building and organizational development. Key expert speakers addressed these topics in plenary sessions. Besides the presentations, the delegates took part in parallel working groups for in-depth discussions on these issues. Participants exchanged lessons learned as well as shared best practices and jointly identified possible solutions to the challenges. 
“The Forum is becoming the annual must attend event for all those concerned about sustainability in the African coffee sector. It is the participants who make the Forum such a dynamic and collaborative space by bringing the issues to the table and working together to address them. The 4C Association is proud of facilitating this exchange with its member and partner EAFCA." , stated Melanie Rutten-Sülz, Executive Director of the 4C Association.
Among the 130 participants were representatives from producer organizations, members of trade and industry, academia, sustainability standards, NGOs, financial institutions, public sector entities and development cooperation agencies. Besides those active in the African coffee sector, there was also an important presence of delegates from other regions, most notably Brazil. The aim was to present experiences from other countries and regions in order to increase cross-border and inter-regional cooperation.
"It was inspiring to see all these people sharing their knowledge and putting their ideas together to build a more sustainable African coffee sector. Issues such as climate change or quality and productivity cannot be addressed by only a few companies or organizations. There is an increasing understanding that cooperation among all the actors is needed to find long-lasting solutions to these problems", said Samuel N. Kamau, Executive Director of EAFCA.
The Forum was sponsored and supported by the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) and 4C Members Nestle, Tchibo and Kraft Foods in the framework of the IDH Coffee Program, currently in its final stage of development. 
"For IDH, the Sustainability Forum represents a unique opportunity to engage with local stakeholders in preparation for the upcoming IDH Coffee Program. We very much appreciate that the Forum focused on the challenges that producers face when scaling up production of sustainable coffee. We will continue to engage in this kind of exchange platforms in the future and will maintain an ongoing dialogue with the 4C Association as a coffee sector platform." stated Ted van der Put, IDH Program Director.

Forum presentations available here.

For more information about the Forum or to schedule an interview, please contact:Media contacts:
Veronica Perez, 4C Communication Manager, at: or +25-1928954578 (until Saturday, 18 February) +49 228 8505015 (from 20 February onwards)
Martin Maraka, EAFCA Programs Associate, at: or +256 0714317892.
For more information on the 9th AFCC & E please visit:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

3 days to go

The forum is fully booked and here is a preview of the presenters. The final program has also been updated.
See you in Addis!!


Abdullah Bagersh
EAFCA Ethiopia Chapter

Ted  van der Put
Program Director

Harison Kalua

Cornel Kuhrt
Senior Manager Food Corporate Responsibility
Tchibo GmbH

Annette Pensel
Director Sustainability Innovations
4C Association

Filtone Sandando
International Projects Manager

Carlos Brando
P&A International Marketing

Anneke Fermont, PhD
Regional Sustainability Manager at Volcafe / Kyagalanyi

Tesfu Kebede
Soil & water research process Coordinator
Jimma Agricultural Research Center

Neil la Croix
Director of Sustainable Supply Chains
Kraft Foods

Mefte Tadesse
Technoserve Coffee Initiative Country Director Ethiopia.

Linda M.Butler
Coffee Sustainability Manager
Global Procurement

Kimemia J Phd, MBS
Director of Research , Coffee Research Foundation Kenya

Julius Nganga, 
General Manager

Marcel Clement
Senior Manager for Sustainable Value Chains Europe
Rain Forest Alliance

George Watene
Regional Manager
4C Association

Vera Espindola Rafael
Field Coordinator Latin America for Coffee, Cocoa and Tea, Utz Certified

Mika Adler
Project Manager, Initiative on Coffee & Climate

Tadesse Meskela
General Manager
Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union

Nicolas Kabare
Senior Manager, Head of Monitoring & Evaluation of HRNS for Africa

Alexandre Monteiro
Program Manager at the Cooxupé Cooperative in Brazil.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Save the Date 15th Feb - "Creating market access through sustainable practises"

Following the success of the first African Coffee Sustainability Forum in 2011, the 4C Association and EAFCA are organizing the second edition of this event on 15 February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Forum takes place on the backdrop of the 9th Africa Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition.
The registration for the Forum 2012 is now open online at:

The program of this year’s Forum focuses on three main topics regarding sustainable coffee production: coffee quality and productivity, climate change and capacity building and organizational development. These topics will be part of plenary presentations by key expert speakers. Besides the presentations, participants will take part in parallel working groups for in-depth discussions on these topics; exchange lessons learned as well as share best practices and try to jointly identify possible solutions to the challenges. Click here to view a full forum agenda with session descriptions.

Last year, over 100 participants including key representatives from the different stakeholder groups attended the 1st African Coffee Sustainability Forum.  It was the first time that such an exchange took place in the African context and it proved to be an excellent opportunity for participants to learn more about each other’s experiences and commonly identify strategies to address key sustainability challenges. To find out more about last year’s program, see link on the blog.
This year’s Forum aims at building on the successes of last year and to give impetus and direction to the continued sustainable development of the African coffee sector.

The deadline for registration is Wednesday, 8 February 2012