Meet Kasmi, a coffee farmer in Aceh, Indonesia. This area is known as one of the biggest producers of the renowned Gayo Kopi.
Are you a coffee lover? Known for its complex, distinctive taste, prominent bitterness and low acidity level, Gayo coffee is highly sought after by coffee drinkers around the world.
These delightful coffee beans are grown by farmers in the Gayo Highlands in Aceh. Bener Meriah is one of the regencies in the highlands that are known to produce one of the best Gayo coffee beans in the world. In fact, the very same Gayo coffee you are drinking right now might come from Kasmi’s coffee farm. Kasmi is one of the many women in Bener Meriah who depends on coffee for their livelihoods.
Over ten years ago, Kasmi’s husband got sick, making her the backbone and sole breadwinner for a family with two little children. She first started out as a worker in other villagers’ coffee farms, mostly present in fieldwork such as harvesting, cutting, and sorting. Kasmi even had to rent a home in another farmer’s plantation to have a roof over her head.
But hard work doesn’t betray and resilience bears fruit. From raising children to providing for her family, Kasmi does it all. Now, Kasmi’s children have graduated from high school and got a diploma degree. She also owns a 2-hectare plot of land which she uses to cultivate coffee, all which she worked on alone, from nursery, harvesting, to post-harvest production.
However, life is always full of ups and downs. Access to financial services is something that Kasmi has been struggling with, as well as other female coffee farmers around the world due to the gender inequality in agriculture.
How Koltiva Helped Kasmi
At Koltiva, we strive to narrow down the gender gap and provide equal opportunity to farmers. The lack of access to financial services such as loans are one of the biggest obstacle women farmers often experience, including Kasmi.
To help Kasmi, we worked with certified institutions and NGOs that allow her easier access to financial services. Soon, she will receive monetary support needed from a local cooperative. We will also provide training and coaching to develop her farm and increase productivity.
How Gender Inequality in Agriculture Affect Women
According to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), women make up on average 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries, ranging from 20% in Latin America, to almost 50% in East and Southeast Asia, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa. In rural areas, the number of female-headed households is increasing due to civil wars, sickness, and the migration of men to cities in search of better-paying work.
However, despite the high numbers, the FAO elaborated that the yield on plots managed by women is lower than those managed by men. This is not because of women are worse farmers compared to men, but because there are barriers that are holding back women in agriculture.
Women farmers generally have limited access. They do not have as much access to land, financial services, and resources as men farmers do. They’re also not equally involved in decision-making. Not only that, but women farmers are also often still heavily involved in domestic activities, which includes caring, cooking, and managing the household.
Empowering Women for the Future of Agriculture
As the world’s population continue to grow with each coming year, the demand for food will also rise. Global food security has been one of the focuses of the Sustainable Development Goals and one of the ways we can achieve it is by empowering women farmers.
The Food and Agriculture estimates that if women had the same access to resources as men, food production would rise by almost 30%. This can potentially result in 150 million fewer hungry people in the world. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for us to tackle the gender inequality in agriculture and support women farmers to end hunger and poverty.