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Fairtrade Fortnight 2021  – 22 February to 7 March 2021 – Focus on climate and livelihood

The climate crisis is an immediate and ever-increasing threat to the livelihoods of farmers and workers across the world, from deforestation and changing weather patterns to rising temperatures water scarcity and contamination.

Despite contributing the least to the climate crisis, smallholders in developing countries are disproportionately affected and have fewer resources to adapt to changes in climate and other stresses. These farmers, many are women, manage over 80 percent of the world’s 500 million farms and rely on this land for their livelihoods but with increasingly negative effects on land and agricultural production, farmers have told us that climate change is their biggest challenge right now.

The farmers that Fairtrade works with have seen their crops of coffee, cocoa, honey, and vegetables in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua be completely devastated. The climate crisis cannot be delayed any longer.

By 2050 as much as 50 percent of the global surface area currently used for coffee farming may no longer be suitable and many cocoa growing regions in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire – who produce over half of the world’s cocoa – will become too hot to grow the crop.

Change by 2050 is too late. The weather is changing now.

Doing this properly means helping farmers and workers to adapting to the current impacts as well as supporting them to switch to low carbon production and transport. That cannot happen if we’re not prepared to pay for it. We cannot expect, and it is not fair to expect, these small producers to absorb the costs of more sustainable methods of farming when they’re often not even able to earn a living income or living wage, and cannot even adapt to the challenges they are already seeing, because the price they receive for their produce is far too low. This needs to change and it needs to change fast.

The prices that businesses pay for the crops behind some of our favourite foods need to increase if farmers are to escape poverty and still have the means to adapt to economic and environmental shocks.

As global trade changes in ways we could only have imagined a year ago, poverty will also continue to be a key contributor to further environmental degradation as farmers are forced to make harder choices. We need to build back fairer. Farmers in climate vulnerable countries need empowerment, fair value, fair prices, and fairer trading practices to resource the investment needed for mitigation, adaptation, diversification and resilience in the face of the climate crisis.

You can help by buying Fairtrade products. Choosing Fairtrade means choosing improvements in producers’ livelihoods with collective strength through co-ops and their bargaining power, the protection of a minimum price and Fairtrade Premiums.

Source and for more information

Carol Infanti
Assistant Programme Director, Prosperity