Women make up 80 percent of coffee farmers in North Sumatra, but are often excluded from training and other development opportunities. Over the past three years, IFC has been working with PT Indo CafCo to train 6,000 farmers, including 1,600 women, on good agricultural practices. The farmers are therefore able to produce more and better-quality coffee beans, which can then be sold for higher prices, thereby increasing their incomes.
"In North Sumatra, women farmers play a significant role. They are the ones who are working on the farms every day to grow coffee beans," said Melanie Landthander, sustainable manager of PT Indo Cafco. "Teaching these women the right farming techniques is key to raising productivity on their coffee farms."
An IFC survey of coffee farmers in North Sumatra showed that training groups consisting of both male and female farmers reported a 102 percent increase in their productivity level, while those groups comprising only men reported only an 87 percent increase in their productivity level. Those farmers who did not receive training from the ECOM-IFC supported program reported only a 34 percent increase in productivity.
"The project implemented by IFC and PT Indo CafCo in the Simalungun district of North Sumatra makes us realize that equipping women with the right agricultural practices can help us improve crop yield and the quality of the beans," says Ir. Amran Sinaga, head of the Agriculture Office of the Simalungun district.
To encourage women's participation, IFC and PT Indo CafCo employed women trainers and women volunteers, engaged women union and farmer association leaders, and adjusted the training schedule to accommodate women's needs. They also developed gender-specific training materials and introduced a simple financial management tool to help women farmers, who are often in charge of managing the household income, document and analyze household and farm expenditures.
"Empowering women in key sectors such as agribusiness has been one of IFC's strategic focuses," said Sarvesh Suri, IFC's country manager for Indonesia. "Based on our experience, supporting women with training programs that suit their needs can improve productivity and increase family incomes in the rural areas."
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world's most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
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