ASEAN women are powering the coffee industry

International Coffee Day falls on 1 October every year with coffee businesses offering promotions to coffee lovers worldwide. But if coffee is not your cup of tea, it is important to know that it is a key commodity in Southeast Asia.

In 2017, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Cambodia exported a total of US$5.34 billion worth of coffee based on a report by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The 2019 report, ‘Women in Coffee,’ revealed that nearly all coffee in the region is produced on small farms of five hectares or less with millions of people relying on coffee for their livelihoods.

A 2018 report by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) on ‘Gender equality in the coffee sector,’ found that at least 30 percent of coffee farms are female-operated. In Southeast Asia, women’s contribution to the coffee sector is significant. According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), women provide up to 80 percent of labour on coffee farms in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, and about 50 percent in Lam Dong, Vietnam.

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