Yes, they are the women in coffee.
And it’s a growing tribe.
The local chapter of International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) welcomes more women into the fold, as Princess Kumala Sug-Elardo urges the women of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to join the Philippine chapter. She has touched base with women from Basilan and Sulu, and hopes more ARMM women coffee farmers and processors will join future activities.
Sulu has been at the forefront of the IWCA work, due to its distance from many key places where coffee summits, events, and trainings are held. This is why members go out to the remote areas and through Princess, are able to get the women together.
In Benguet, IWCA members recently visited the women farmers in Kapangan, to introduce them to quality standards for specialty coffee. Marietta Paragas, community leader in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), joined the meeting with local village officials and local executives, who can further develop coffee projects in far-flung towns in the north.
Over in Bohol, IWCA reconnected with the women who diligently worked on their coffee beans to be able to Kape Pilipino Green Coffee Quality Competition. They look forward to being more active in spreading the word about coffee cupping and grading, since most of the farmers only pick ripe cherries anyway.
Then, there are women farmers who are part of the Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA) stakeholders from Mindanao. They can benefit from the support of IWCA Global and the access to international markets through International Trade Center’s (ITC) #SheTrades program. The ITC—with the help of IWCA’s network—has connected coffee producers to coffee buyers internationally.
This is why IWCA is an important part of the “access to market” step. Through the annual SCA convention and the bi-annual IWCA convention, IWCA chapters from around the world meet sponsors who empower women producers while conducting activities like coffee auctions in the USA, Europe, and other coffee-consuming markets.