General News

Celebrating Women in Cacao

Guest Blog Post, Shared Via Uncommon Cacao

International Women’s Day has come and gone, but we don’t just celebrate women one day a year. We continually recognize them as essential in the cocoa value chain and chocolate industry.

Women play a critical role in small-scale farming, whether they are formally recognized as doing so or not. According to Oxfam, approximately 80% of the world’s food is produced by small-scale farming, with women comprising an average of 43% of this agricultural labor. Yet women often face multiple challenges and barriers, including less access to land and capital, and juggling food production with the extensive unpaid work they do caring for their homes and families. If you’re looking to support women producers in the cacao value chain, here are some of the organizations that are working hardest on ensuring inclusivity, market access, and leadership opportunities for the women producers in their networks.

  • Semuliki Forest, Uganda: 51% of the producer network are women, and there are many women in leadership positions across the company operations
  • PISA, Haiti: 43% of the producer network are women, and it is a women-led organization (Aline Etlicher, general manager, and Fenise Pierre Antoine, cocoa post-harvest manager)
  • ABOCFA, Ghana: 27% of the producer network are women, and 2 women (Sarah Larweh and Janet Aframea pictured above) sit on the ABOCFA executive board
  • Lachuá, Guatemala: 25% of the producer network are women, and 6 women sit on the leadership boards of the Lachuá associations
  • Tumaco, Colombia: 26% of the producer network are women

I’d like to try some of these cacaos!

Please meet Shirat Nansubuga (first, above), Accounts Assistant at Latitude Craft Chocolate, our partner in Uganda who provides us with the delicious Semuliki Forest beans! When asked what she likes most about working with cacao, Shirat shared this: “It’s interesting to see the whole process – from sourcing cacao directly from farmers at our dedicated collection points, to the fermentation process in our production facility, and reaching the final export stage. Working with a company like Latitude that gives back, helping these communities by buying fresh cacao directly from them and giving the best rate, makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger which is a great feeling.”

In the second photo above, we have Fenise, the fermentation and drying manager (on right), and Aline, general manager (on left). Fenise and Aline have worked together since PISA’s first harvest in March 2014. These women are making their mark and leaving a strong legacy in Haiti’s cacao production.⁠

These ladies are leading the charge in cacao production in the Tumaco region of Colombia. The first photo is of Doña Blanca Vivera. She is part of the Cortepaz association in Tumaco and has been a cacao producer her entire life. Her love for cacao doesn’t stop there! She also makes chocolate in her home and says that cacao is her favorite tree and fruit. Second is a photo of Maria Josefa. She is in charge of purchasing management, fermentation management, drying oversight and lot tracking at the Cortepaz association.