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Did you know that in Mexico there are 8 million women in the rural sector and of them, 15% are producers, according to Inegi figures? Not only that, 1.4 million women are responsible for 50% of food production in the country, according to figures from the National Institute of Women (Inmujeres).
This demonstrates the fundamental role that rural women play in production, who also allow the conservation of natural resources in their communities and become benchmarks for local economic development.
NESCAFÉ recognizes the fundamental role of women in the Mexican countryside and especially in coffee production, where they are priority partners in obtaining the grain. In fact, they represent 29% of the national purchase of coffee by the firm, according to Rosa María Cordero, Marketing Director of the brand.
To recognize their daily work, NESCAFÉ invited coffee growers and agricultural experts to share their life stories in the virtual forum Las Mujeres del Café . The meeting allowed to have an approach to those entrepreneurial experiences that are behind each cup of coffee.
The guests at the forum were: Ariana Casas, biologist and producer from Coatepec, Veracruz; Hazetl Berenice Molina, coffee grower from San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas; Maripaz Ortiz, María Paz Ortiz, coffee grower from Tapachula, Chiapas; Guadalupe Ortega, agricultural engineer from Pachuca, Hidalgo and Rosa María Cordero, Marketing Director of NESCAFÉ .
The meeting Las Mujeres del Café was moderated by Rosa María Cordero, who commented that, “60% of coffee producers in Mexico belong to indigenous groups and are in the poorest areas. In this sense, we have a great commitment to women, we go hand in hand with them, with coffee growers, to help them in their development and generate shared value. In other words, that the production, supply, quality and consumption of coffee continue to advance with initiatives to support agriculture and production ”.
To ensure the responsible and sustainable supply of green coffee, increase the prodictory capacity of small producers and promote the economic and social development of their families and communities, the Nestlé group launched the NESCAFÉ Plan.
It is a global initiative that has been operating in Mexico since 2010, offering support and training to producers in the most important coffee growing areas of the country such as Chiapas, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Puebla and Guerrero.
To date, more than 80,000 producers have benefited, 32 million improved coffee plants have been distributed that are up to three times more productive, more than 1,400 hectares have been renovated and more than 83,000 training sessions have been given (2,800 to women) in sustainable production practices.
The coffee women
During the meeting, Maripaz Ortiz, a coffee farmer from the state of Chiapas, explained how she has supported her family and her community through coffee production with the resources she has received. “My total production has increased from 750 kg to 8,500 kg with the improved plants and the Plan NESCAFÉ guide, which allowed me to acquire another piece of land together with my husband. Our plot has become an example for our neighbors and thus we encourage them to develop their own crops ”, he commented.
For her part, Hazetl Berenice Molina Rivera, a coffee farmer from Chiapas, explained how her roots in growing coffee led her to be part of a growing industry in the southeast of the country: I had thought about taking another career path, but when my grandfather passed away I joined to support my mother in the production and we decided to join Plan NESCAFÉ. With this orientation, we carried out renovations and integrated new production techniques that gave us greater performance; now I am the head of the family, producer and ejidataria ”.
Another invaluable pillar in coffee production are agricultural professionals, who focus on seeking the best production techniques and providing rural women with access to agricultural resources, training and advice.
Ariana Casas is one of them, who expressed, “the taste for coffee is something that I experienced since I was a child, because my grandfather was a coffee producer. This early approach led me to study Biology to encourage production in my community. The contribution of resources from Plan NESCAFÉ allowed me to put my scientific knowledge into practice to support coffee growers to be able to produce successfully ”.
Finally, with the participation of the agricultural engineer Guadalupe Ortega, it was revealed that the aid goes beyond offering agricultural guidance, as there is also a social impact. “Over the years I have come to realize that it is more difficult for women to access opportunities. There is great importance in our work, which starts from allowing young women to see us in the field; I have had the pleasure of meeting the daughters of the coffee growers and we seek to leave a mark on them by serving as an example and showing them that it is possible to continue in this line of work ”.
These women are an inspiration and an example for the new generations.