Voices from the Field

Women play a vital role in agriculture around the world but often face more challenges than men. Improving the lives of women farmers can have a major impact not just for the women themselves but also their families and whole communities. At UTZ we see the importance of supporting women farmers and workers around the world and work on gender equity through UTZ certification. This week’s International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to engage consumers and colleagues on the difference sustainable sourcing can make to women’s lives.

Women farmers are often excluded from landownership, and don’t have the access they need to resources, training and quality fertilizers and seeds. They are less likely to be members of co-operatives and more likely to miss out on the benefits of certification. They often experience discrimination both at work and in their home lives.

To tackle this, we aim to increase the numbers of women farmers joining UTZ, to help more women farmers and workers to access benefits such as training and to reduce discrimination, harassment and violence against women in the farms and plantations where we operate.

Kalimuthu SaraswathyI joined the tea estate in 1990 as a tea plucker. As part of the UTZ certification I was able to join several trainings that changed both my work and my day-to-day life. The training on gender and leadership was a milestone for us. My husband now supports the work I do in my job and at home. I became a team leader and a trade union leader.”

Kalimuthu Saraswathy (48), tea plucker at Highforest Estate, India explains the difference UTZ has made to her life.

Rudo Nyamapfene_Zimbabwean tea farmerI am happy because of UTZ. I am now one of the best farmers in my district and I was also elected as a lead farmer. I have a good living with my family. UTZ taught me about good hygiene practices and at home I am a better mother because of it. Through training with UTZ I am also a leader in my community.” Rudo Nyamapfene from Honde Valley Tea Growers Association in Zimbabwe talking about the benefits of joining UTZ.

Gnamien Konan Christine“Thanks to the premium we are seeing concrete results. On the cooperative level; we have been able to buy a truck to carry the cocoa from the village to the buying station of our partner and also to build our warehouse and our head office. The training on good agricultural practices, on good use of pesticides; because of that we can clearly see an improvement of the yields and an improvement of the cocoa production.” Gnamien Konan Christine, Cooperative Accountant, oversees the finances for her co-operative in the Côte d’Ivoire.

Want to highlight the role of women in tea, coffee and cocoa production? You can use these (and more) quotes and pictures in your communications and for our cocoa partners we also have a 1 minute video on women in UTZ cocoa farming.

Read more on empowering female farmers in our blog.

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