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ICO and IWCA sign agreement to promote gender equality

The International Coffee Organization (ICO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) to pursue collaborative efforts to promote gender equality across the coffee sector at the 122nd session of the International Coffee Council (ICC).

“Reducing the gender gap in the coffee value chain will not only have a crucial social and economic impact, but will also increase the supply of higher quality coffee,” says Gerardo Patacconi, ICO Head of Operations, on behalf of the ICO Executive Director José Sette.

“The effect of low prices has a detrimental impact on all producers, but especially women as they are often the most vulnerable in the coffee value chain.”

The annual theme of the ICC session, which concluded on 21 September, was Women in the Coffee Value Chain.

“Supporting women in the coffee sector must continue in order to achieve prosperity,” says Ambassador Aly Touré, from Côte D’Ivoire and Chair of the ICC.

The event included the release of the ICO study: Gender equality in the coffee sector, which says “that providing women with access to knowledge and finance can increase quality, yield with positive impact on family wealth and health.”

In the Thematic Workshop: Women in Coffee, participants including Nestlé-Nespresso presented examples of best practices for gender inclusion and equality.

“Empowering women in the coffee sector is not just the right thing to do but it is also the smart thing to do,” says Luiza Carvalho of United Nations Women.

At the session, the Brazil Chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance launched the English version of the e-book Women of the Coffees of Brazil. The e-book is a collaboration between the group and the research organisation Embrapa.

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The ICC is an international forum bringing together both coffee exporting and importing countries, the public and private sectors and development partners to provide a platform to study and address the challenges facing the global coffee sector.

Over 200 representatives of exporting and importing countries, major coffee private sector associations and platforms, technology providers, key international organisations and donors supporting the coffee sector gathered in London to discuss how to address emerging issues and the long-term future for coffee producers, traders, industry and consumers.

Image credit: Nespresso

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