About 125 million people work in the coffee industry and depending on the country, women do 60-80% of the work on the coffee farms. A lot of women work e.g. during harvesting but for example in Nicaragua and Vietnam many women work in management positions. In this article you can get to know four women who work at the coffee exporter Mercon in Nicaragua in varied management-level positions.
Mercon is a global green coffee supplier that Paulig has collaborated with for years. Mercon operates in various countries of which Nicaragua is one. In Mercon Nicaragua many women work in management-level positions in the fascinating world of coffee. Mercon actively promotes the career paths of skillful women.
"Working in the coffee industry means learning constantly, as well as taking on new challenges. The road in this type of work connects the coffee cup that you enjoy so much with a story that is told by each member of the coffee supply chain: in the harvesting, processing, logistics, until reaching our final client," tells María Elena Valdivia, who works as Operations Manager at Mercon Nicaragua.
"What I like the most about my work in the coffee industry is that we are working to share with the world the treasures that we have in Nicaragua," says Head of Logistics Amanda Rodriguez.
Liseyda Smith who works as Head of Natural Drying, enjoys her work that inspires and challenges her.
"Year to year we improve our processes and we find ourselves with new challenges. This awakens my creativity and makes me reinvent myself."
Head of Production Xiomara Parrales, agrees.
"Each day at my job is different. There are days that are focused on finding a solution to a problem, and there are creative days to innovate in processes that are already established."
Q&A with these inspiring women
What is the role of coffee in your society/country?
Coffee is a very important component of our country’s GDP, it sustains economically over 15% of the population. In the coffee growing communities of Nicaragua it is the main source of income and it’s even a lifestyle.
What makes you fascinated in your work in coffee industry? Why?
What I like the most about my job is to feel that I’m part of the coffee process, from the harvest until it is enjoyed by the final consumer.
Does it make a difference that you are a female leader?
At the beginning, I didn’t notice the difference. However, as I got to know more about the business, I realized that there are few women that take part in this industry. This made me conscious that this is a traditional business run by men. For me, this challenge has been an opportunity to handle the differences and pave the way for future generations. At Mercon, there are increasingly more women in operative areas, and it is satisfying to see that we are making a difference.
What is your dream for the bright future of coffee?
That all coffee is produced and sold in a sustainable way throughout the entire coffee chain.
Greetings for Finnish coffee lovers?
On behalf of Mercon we want to thank Finnish coffee drinkers for their continued support to the coffee industry in Nicaragua. We are proud to be part of the everyday coffee experience of the Finnish population that consumes around 12 kg per annum, which is impressive. Stay warm and drink up!