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.
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.
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.
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:
- Identify and systematise gender innovative approaches, strategies and good practices
- Create a space of dialogue among a wide range of actors including producer organisations, governments, private enterprises, civil society organisations, NGOs and academia in coffee and cocoa value chains to exchange knowledge and experience and foster collaboration and partnerships
- Enhance the gender related capacities of the different actors in coffee and cocoa so that they can uptake and scale-up the good practices