In Guatemala, coffee has always been a male dominated crop, where gender equality remains a challenge. It has always been very difficult for Guatemalan women to compete and grow in the world of coffee.
In fact, only 20% of coffee plantations are managed by women, while 70% of the workforce is provided by women. Women have less access to resources such as land, credit, and training than their male counterparts. A measurable gender gap in economic performance, including yields, productivity, and agricultural income.
In 2016 Volcafe Guatemala created a team dedicated to the development of a new micro-batch made up of coffee produced exclusively by women. The chosen name, La Morena, was born from the predominant flavor of that coffee, the cane sugar azucar, morena in Spanish.
“Most women producers have a tragic history. Often she only started working after the death of her husband or father, who had lots of land where they grew coffee. And suddenly they had to decide whether to keep or sell the farm. Their courage has emerged with the choice to continue to manage them personally”, says Maria Renee, General Manager Assistant of Volcafe, responsible for the project. “Nobody wants to deal with women. There are still many preconceptions, and we are working to change this. Since joining the La Morena project, the producers have improved the quality of their coffee, increased their yields and, consequently, started earning more.”
Volcafe Way and Wakami Foundation
La Morena has become a platform reserved for the producers of Volcafe Way in Huehuetenango. Volcafe Way provides technical assistance to participating growers. The Huehuetenango area was chosen because it is the highest and driest non-volcanic region in Guatemala, one of the best regions to grow coffee. In fact, the entire region is fundamentally linked to the coffee industry.
The La Morena project aims to create a coffee produced exclusively by women, inserted in a market defined for their coffee, for which they receive a fair price.
In addition to work in the field, the project also addresses the problem of female cultural education. Thanks to the collaboration with Wakami Foundation, an organization that takes care of women living in rural areas, women are trained to be able to create sources of income for their families. Wakami provides them with training in finance, accounting, and market access. The creation of associations and cooperatives allows members to formalize their own craft businesses, manage finances, open bank accounts and access loans.
Guatemala Coffee La Morena
La Genovese has included Guatemala La Morena coffee among its CoffeeStorming specialty coffees, coming from an association of 22 women coffee producers in the Huehuetenango area.
This coffee grows between 1,400 and 1,600 meters above sea level, it is a 100% Arabica, Bourbon, Catuai, Caturra varieties. The processing method is washed with sun drying. It achieved an SCA score of 84.00.