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Outdated customs hinder women’s participation in coffee production

OUTDATED traditions are partly to blame for women’s failure to take part in economic activities, particularly in coffee production.

Women are being prevented from inheriting land from their parents or husbands through complicated procedures meant to deny them the natural resource, the Secretary of the Mwika North East Agricultural Market Co-operative Society (Mwika North East Amcos), Ms Doreen Makundi, told participants of an International Management System (IMS) training and coaching workshop in Moshi.

“There is a big challenge in that field of inheritance. A woman can't inherit land from her father. Even if she gets married and loses her spouse, the one to inherit land will be her son,” said, adding, traditions dictate that land is a property for men.

She said this has led women who play a big role in coffee cultivation in Kilimanjaro Region not to participate in coffee production because all the documents are named after their parents, spouses and their sons.

“This is the reason why our Amcos having a total of 640 members, only 100 are women.

Commenting on the IMS training which she also participated, Ms Makundi said that it would act as an eye opener to the Amcos as far as the certified coffee trading was concerned.

“We learned that certification is one of the factors leading to high income as far as coffee trading is concerned. I will submit the findings of this training to the Mwika North East Amcos Board with the intention of engaging on certified coffee importation in the future," she said.

One of the facilitators of the IMS training Mr Christian Sakalani from the International Trade Centre (ITC) said women who account almost 80 per cent of the workforce in coffee farming could play a big role in increasing production of certified coffee in Kilimanjaro region.

"There are buyers who specialise in buying coffee sourced from women-owned or women-managed farms globally. These clients do empower women coffee farmers through different development donations with the intention of improving coffee produced by women," he said.

He noted that coffee has a number of classifications used to determine the participation of growers and the supply chain in general, whereby, he said, the classification includes that produced by women, which is termed as women coffee.

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