International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women around the world. With this in mind we are embarking on a new project to shine a light on the role that women play on creating your daily cup.
With it we hope to challenge any perception that the coffee industry is male dominated and shift the conversation to the value of a role rather than that of gender. Through our ‘Great Coffee in Common’ series we have brought together women from different parts of the supply chain to hear their voices and opinions on this important subject and hear their personal experiences of working in the coffee industry.
Ibu Seri, middle standing in pink
Who/what inspired you on your coffee journey?
My main inspiration has been the staff at the Tiga Raja Mill. The training they gave me on how to grow and care for the coffee plants without using chemical fertilisers has been invaluable and really makes me firm in my commitment to actively develop coffee farming here.
It is also hugely inspiring to meet our direct coffee buyers and hear them complement my coffee. It makes me realise that we can establish a remarkable relationship between people like me (the farmers) and the buyers out there and that is a massive boost of confidence to carry on doing what we do.
What has being in the coffee industry taught you?
It has taught me that we don't need to damage the environment to earn profits. If you learn how to grow the plants in the right way then you don't have to compromise on either of these things.
What opportunities has coffee given you?
I have got to see the wider impact of coffee on a global scale and realise that what I produce is just one part of a larger supply chain. It also makes me realise that I can develop the coffee that I grow in my field and reach a wider audience of buyers out there.
I have also been invited to train and nurture other aspiring farmers at the Tiga Raja Mill which is hugely rewarding.
Is coffee your main product on your farm?
No, we grow oranges as our number one product but this is closely followed by coffee plants. I have begun to realise though that coffee has many advantages over oranges.
Can you describe the difference between specialty and ordinary coffee?
To us, coffee is just coffee there is no difference in terms of name but I guess it would be down to a difference in quality and attention that we give to the crops.
Do you think that climate change has affected the your farming practices?
Yes it has had a huge affect on my farm. We normally have two harvests per year in Sumatra but last year we had a prolonged dry season which has meant that one of those just didn't happen.
Finally, how would you describe the perfect way to enjoy a cup of coffee?
For me it would be whilst relaxing during lunch break in the fields.