The Story of Women in Coffee in Ethioipa goes back so many generations. However, have they been the primary beneficiaries of what they have put into the coffee they grow at their backyards, or their family farms? Not necessarily.

Now is time for the Coffee Sector to bring the economic benefit to the nation and in particular to women who undertake over 70% of the work from-farm-to-cup.  Government’s strategy for the coffee value chain is to contribute towards the overall goal of a 50% increase in Ethiopian coffee exports that will receive value added premium of over 200% by 2020 as per the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP).

 The overall strategic activities include, enhancing productivity of farmers by enabling local and international market linkages and generating jobs through nursery activities; technology transfer support to farmers encouraging adoption of new disease resistant, high yielder and good quality seedling in replacement of old unproductive coffee fields; enabling access to finance by providing farmers and unions with assistance in developing bankable business plans and facilitating the loan process, including application and negotiation support; technical Training Support through provision of coffee quality improvement, coffee processing systems, ECX grading system and primary marketing training. Trainings are expected to contribute to the production of higher value specialty coffees.

Women can benefit from the above mentioned interventions by coming together and getting organized to voice their issues. Though many came and went trying to bring together women in the coffee sector for the past many years, and many struggled to have an association that caters to the needs and demands of the Women in Coffee of Ethiopia in vain, with the undefeated spirit of our board, the Women in Coffee Sectoral Association got its registration certificate in only September 2016.

EWiC has got its legal status with the vision of support and empower women in the coffee value chain, who are coffee exporters, growers, processors, traders, roasters (in local and export market), coffee professionals & cuppers to be visible and assist their business to be profitable by using different interventions such as training packages in international Coffee trade, marketing, agricultural practices, pre and post-harvest management, cupping, networking, advocacy and finally bridge them to the international market.

Currently, the seven board members along with our Administratve Manager are serving with unreseved commitment and striving to bring more benefits and quality services to its over 40 members and 104 coffee farmers organized under Bench Maji Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union.

EWiC has signed the MoU to becoming the Chapter to the International Wome in Coffee Alliance (IWCA) in April 2017, in Seattle Washington at the Specialty Coffee of America (SCA) Annual Event. As an association EWiC is also a member of African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) & Speciality Coffee Association (SCA).

The Association has worked in collaboration and in partnership with many National and International organizations such as Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority, Ministry of Trade, Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), Feed For the Future -Ethiopia, International Women in Coffee Alliance (IWCA), African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA), Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI) and International Trade Center (ITC), She Trades initiative.

Enabling Women in Coffee to be competitive through quality imrovement, communication skills and understanding how the global market works is the key objective.

EWiC through its member driven activities aims to bring about a significant change in terms of product quality improvement and increase in the export of Specialty Coffee from Ethiopia. Moreover, we aim to mentor and create a generation of young women who will take Ethiopian Coffee to the next level. This could be done by developing interesting internship packages and mentoring these young women to be professional coffee enterpreneurs and advocates.

EWiC aims to expand to regional branches (Oromia and Southern Region) gradually and benefit more women from our services in the near future.