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Women in Coffee

On my visits to coffee farms, I have seen at first hand the dedication and skill of women working in coffee. However, this has often been confined to the areas of labouring and field work. I remember watching some of the process and asking if I could take pictures. The production of a camera would inevitably bring the men, managers and owners to be part of the scene, much to the amusement of the women to whom this was a most unusual occurrence.

Tradition has seen coffee management, and the ownership of land, dominated by men. The International Coffee Organisation has reported how women contribute significantly to the global coffee sector. However, they have lower access to resources such as land, credit, and information. Other reports have said that worldwide, only 20% of farms are female operated. They suggest that actively reducing the gender gap could have long term benefits of the whole of the global coffee industry. It seems that there is a long way to go before old prejudices are removed. But, there are chinks of light, some women are achieving a break through.

Norma Mileybi Lara

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we bring you the story of one of our suppliers, Norma Mileybi Lara.

Norma Mileybi Lara began growing her coffee on a small piece of land given to her by her father. The plot was just 1.4 hectares in the Ocotepeque region of Honduras.

Honduras is situated in Central America between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean gulf coast to the east. It has borders with El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala. The Ocotepeque region, or department, produces coffees of great quality.

After a lot of training with a local co-operative, Norma Mileybi Lara put her heart and soul into producing Honduras Finca Gaby, a lovely coffee that we are proud to feature in our selection.

She became part of the 121 project from D. R. Wakefield, which links farmers who are passionate about what they do with roasters and consumers who also have a passion for coffee. Through the project, direct relationships between farmers and roasters are formed, based on the principles of organic coffee production. This is how we came to form our relationship with her.

On International Women’s day, we celebrate Norma Mileybe Lara, and all the other women that strive so hard in our industry.

I add a personal note, as I reflect on all the women who have played a part in the story of H. R. Higgins (Coffee-man) Ltd, and celebrate the great team of women whom form part of the H. R. Higgins (Coffee-man) Ltd of today.


Tony Higgins


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