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FST impacting Rural Women in Agriculture

Photo caption: Penlyne Castle, St. Thomas, Jamaica - Jamaican Women in Coffee (JAWiC) 

October 15 is internationally recognised as International Day of Rural Women. The theme for this year is “Rural women cultivating good food for all". It is universally accepted that providing rural women with the same opportunities as men in agricultural production can mitigate poverty and hunger, therefore improving their quality of life. The Faculty joins the global platform in celebrating the day by highlighting the work of local ‘food heroines’ in rural Jamaica through the work of Jamaican Women in Coffee (JAWiC). Drs. Anne-Teresa Birthwright (FST Alum) and Dr. Rose Ann Smith (Lecturer) both from the Department of Geography and Geology are primary contributors to JAWiC.

The Jamaican Women in Coffee (JAWiC) has been the national chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) since April 2019. As a hub for all Jamaican women in coffee, including farmers, traders, roasters, vendors, and baristas, JAWiC seeks to develop and nurture a supportive community where collective strength is used to catalyze a sustainable and equitable future for the coffee industry. Through their five initiatives, (Field Survey, Quality Control, Market Access, Leadership and Sustainability), JAWiC aims to improve women’s participation in the coffee value chain, improve the production and quality of their coffee for local and international markets, and facilitate women with the power of a collective voice, while uplifting them as leaders within their communities and the industry.

Though JAWiC’s membership drive was interrupted by the global Covid-19 pandemic, the organization has been actively pursuing solutions to the challenges facing Jamaican women in coffee, including their 67 members. Recently, JAWiC secured its first grant from the 2021/2022 Canada Fund Local Initiative (CFLI) program. The project “Strengthening the capacity of women coffee farmers in Jamaica through training” seeks to increase the knowledge and resource capacity women coffee farmers located in Penlyne Castle, St. Thomas. 

The JAWiC is committed to improving the quality of life for rural women in agriculture in Jamaica. 

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Published on 15 Oct, 2021

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