Thursday 07 December 2023

Sodexo and the Fairtrade Foundation empower women coffee growers

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Sodexo is working with the Fairtrade Foundation to help improve the food security and empowerment of women, Fairtrade coffee producers’ and their families in Peru.

The project aims to support the producers in four areas:

  • Create kitchen gardens for local food production and sales in domestic markets
    Small animal farming
  • Technical training to increase the productivity and improve the quality of coffee grown
  • Installation of solar dryers to improve the process of drying coffee beans, in turn improving the quality

Growing coffee in Peru is hard, physical work and farming families struggle to make ends meet.

Climate change is causing a variety of environmental changes, including erratic weather patterns and the emergence of new diseases, such as ‘La Roya’ or leaf rust, which affects 80% of farms and can mean that farmers can lose up to 50% of their crop as the leaves fall and the coffee bushes become unproductive.

Additionally, thousands of coffee producers regularly face the challenge of food security. During the months with no coffee harvest, producers do not have a stable income and purchasing food can therefore be a challenge.

This is compounded by erratic climate change conditions and the increased costs of coffee production for farmers, who may seek quick-fixes to bringing in an income by picking coffee cherries too early.

However, this creates a bigger problem though, as the coffee beans are of a lower quality.

Another key challenge for coffee farming communities in Peru is a lack of technical knowledge. This means that often farmers struggle to present their coffee in the way which secures the highest possible price.

That is why the project has been designed in partnership with the Fairtrade Foundation and CLAC, Fairtrade’s network of producers in Central and Latin America in order to incorporate a range of approaches to address the most relevant issues and support the cooperative members through training, improving the quality of coffee and diversifying their income through the production of new food products.

Edwina Hughes, Corporate Responsibility Director at Sodexo said, “Ending world hunger is one of the Sustainable Development Goals promoted by the United Nations.  It is also one of our Better Tomorrow 2025 goals.

Hunger is not simply a case of feeding a person in the short-term, it’s about creating the conditions within which people can thrive in the long-term.

That’s why our project focuses on supporting women to become more successful and economically independent.  Our hope is that through this project we can help women coffee growers build a more secure future for them and their families.

Catherine David, Head of Commercial Partnerships, The Fairtrade Foundation said: “We are delighted that Sodexo have committed to fund this programme to help Fairtrade woman coffee farmers and their families in Peru.

“The programme will make a profound difference to these communities helping improve their business as well as ensuring they are able to produce the food they need.

“Fairtrade is increasingly looking to work together with businesses on programmes such as these, sharing expertise, as well as investment, to help Fairtrade producers around the world.”

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