How climate change is affecting Fairtrade farmers

Fairtrade fortnight has arrived and it’s the perfect time to get involved with our campaign and speak out for justice in solidarity with the world’s poorest communities.

Farmers work tirelessly to grow our food while also living in some of the poorest countries in the world and often being exploited and badly paid. On top of all that, another issue is affecting the farmers – climate change.

Fairtrade ensures the world’s poorest growers and producers are able to earn a decent living and earn a premium they can put back into their communities, which becomes a challenge when climate change comes into the picture. Many crops are being lost and farmers are struggling to adapt to climate change which is damaging their livelihoods and well-being. These people living in rural areas have contributed very little to climate change but they’re the ones being affected the most.

Aileen Burmeister, National Coordinator for Fair Trade Wales said:

“Farmers and workers are paying the price twice over for our demands for cheap goods. Firstly, by not being paid fairly for their hard work, and secondly through uncertainty in their future due to climate change.”

One of the most sold Fairtrade products is coffee – which also happens to be the most sensitive to changes in temperature. The smallest change in temperature can mean that these coffee bushes struggle to survive. It is predicted that the areas suitable for coffee production will decrease considerably by 2020 in significant coffee-producing countries such as Brazil, Uganda and Vietnam and the global demand for coffee is set to rise.

Additionally, cocoa farmers are faced with a difficult task as it is one of the hardest crops to grow. It is a delicate crop that must be protected from wind, sun, pests, and disease.  This becomes increasingly difficult as climate change worsens. During Fairtrade fortnight, a campaign is running to ensure Cocoa farmers are being paid the £1.86 per day that they need in order to achieve a living income. The cocoa farmers, many being women who also look after children, carry water, collect wood, cook and clean for the family, often earn only 74p per day.

Aileen explained how Fairtrade are trying help farmers maintain their livelihood, she said:

“Through the minimum price and extra premium Fairtrade offers, Fairtrade producers are more able to prepare for the impact of climate effects. For example, producers have chosen to invest their premiums in crop diversification, reforestation, conservation, switching to organic farming methods, training and more.”

It is important to spread the awareness about changing the food we buy and choosing products from Fairtrade companies which will not only help tackle poverty overseas but also help Fairtrade farmers adapt to climate change and shape healthy supply chains for years to come.

Help make a difference to the livelihood and well-being of farmers overseas by purchasing Fairtrade chocolate or coffee.