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Gender in Coffee and Cocoa Initiative

In 2016, FAO, KIT Royal Tropical Institute and Twin established a partnership to build on their complementary knowledge, expertise and comparative advantage in coffee and cocoa value chains to establish the coffee and cocoa initiative.

Coffee and cocoa value chains

This initiative aims to foster coffee and cocoa value chains where women and men can equally benefit from their engagement, while at the same time transforming gender relations in households, communities, institutions and markets.

In producing regions, cocoa and coffee are widely considered to be men’s crops, and it is often difficult for women to gain access to and control over land, productive assets and the income from the sale of produce. The result is in an imbalance between women and men in decision-making regarding agricultural investment and household expenditure.

Gender equality

There is increasing awareness among different value chain actors that investing in women farmers leads to improved volumes and quality of supply while the women farmers earn greater income and access opportunities for empowerment. For some companies and producer organisations, investing in gender equality is part of long-term risk management and sustainability strategy.

Learning events and webinars

By organising periodic multi-stakeholder learning events and webinars, the initiative aims to influence producer organisations, multinational companies, traders, service providers and policymakers, towards greater gender-sensitivity and inclusiveness, e.g. by integrating gender analysis into projects or business strategies to make sure that they also benefit women.

From a farm and gender perspective, coffee and cocoa production have several similarities from the production of the crop, to the issues experienced by female farmers.

Issues include difficult access to and control over land, productive assets, and the income from the sale of produce resulting in an unequal distribution of benefits and income from coffee and cocoa. These issues (and possible solutions) are discussed in the publication: Changing the terms of women’s engagement in cocoa and coffee supply chains.

The specific objectives of the coffee and cocoa initiative are:


Organizing Multi-stakeholder Learning Events

In 2016, the initiative organized an international multi-stakeholder conference hosted by FAO in Rome on inclusive and gender-sensitive coffee and cocoa value chains. It was attended by more than 50 representatives from producer organisations, multi-national companies, traders, governments and service providers from both sectors to share their experiences and shape future work in this area. In 2017, a write shop was hosted by KIT Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. Over two and a half days, participants from eight organisations that participated in the international conference presented, compared and reflected on their case studies.

Webinar Series

The initiative aims to continue the cross-fertilzation and learning between the coffee and cocoa sector as well as between different coffee and cocoa-producing regions and countries.

A series of webinars will explore the overlapping ambitions of actors involved in women’s empowerment in the coffee and cocoa sector. In addition, they will identify participant knowledge gaps and explore funding opportunities for action research and learning for the initiative.

Previous Webinar: Taking a gender sensitive approach to promote child development in coffee and cocoa value chains.


Date/Time: 24th of March 13:30-14:45 CET

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