Willington Wamayeye, Managing Director of Gumutindo Coffee Co-operative, and a supplier to Cafédirect says ‘Rains now fall heavily for a short period and our dry season is much longer. The coffee plants are badly affected – flowering is stopping. Last year alone we lost about 40% of our production.’
Small scale farmers are at a disadvantage when it comes to adapting to a changing climate because without the resources to support a switch, it is too risky to change to growing other more resilient crops. Rural areas rarely have the insurance and credit services small farmers need to support them adapt. Florence Madamu from Bulihere in Uganda explains: ‘We used to plant in March and that would be it. Now we plant and plant again. We waste a lot of seeds… Then we have to plan to acquire other seeds and the seeds here are very costly. Sometimes you feel like crying.’
Fairtrade is one way we can support disadvantaged producers as the climate begins to change. The minimum price and Fairtrade premium allows farmers to invest in trying different crops and strengthening their businesses. Some producer groups have used the premium to set up micro finance schemes and found ways to reduce their carbon emissions.
But there are other ways the Fairtrade system itself can develop to help farmers adapt. Some ideas already in discussion include:
- developing new credit schemes and ways of financing producers,
- building on schemes in place already such as the Technical Assistance Fund for African producers;
- creating partnerships like Cafédirect’s innovative AdapCC programme, (www.adapcc.org) to help channel funds directly to vulnerable communities, and
- putting Fairtrade, and more broadly, equity and fairness, at the heart of what it means to be sustainable.
We want to encourage shoppers to increase their social footprint – buy less, but buy better.
Read a full discussion paper at www.fairtrade.org.uk/climatereport and email us your suggestions for how Fairtrade as a whole can respond to climate change email@example.com