Community Agroecology Network (CAN) has joined coffee importer Ético: The Ethical Trading Company (ÉTICO), the British NGO Social Business Network, local coffee roaster Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company, the Union of Cooperatives in San Ramón, Nicaragua (UCA SR), and the Denis Gutierrez coffee cooperative to recognize and include the unpaid work of women in the price paid for AgroEco® Coffee in San Ramón, Nicaragua. This innovative partnership will WomenLaborReleaseensure that AgroEco® Coffee not only promotes sustainable farming and livelihoods among coffee farmers, but also the empowerment of wives of farmers and women members of the cooperative so that they can undertake their own economic initiatives. By including the extra 10 cents per pound, the women have now become managers of their own resources and can decide how to engage in economic projects themselves.

Women’s labor contribution to the economy has generally not been recognized, and has never been included into the price of a commodity before ÉTICO piloted the initiative in two cooperatives in Nicaragua in 2010, with the incorporation of a component for women’s unpaid work into the cost structures of Fair Trade contracts for coffee and sesame. Nick Hoskyns, Managing Director at ETICO, remarked: “The unpaid work which is done mainly by women in the household and community represents an important input into production and one which should be valued and remunerated. Its recognition can both empower women and provide a fresh demonstration of the power of the cooperatives and Fair Trade in innovating so as to improve the conditions of disadvantaged people in their supply chains.”