Fairtrade producers attend UN Climate Change Conference

Fairtrade climate change project

As the UN Climate Change Conference begins in Lima, Fairtrade Producer Networks, which represent small-scale farmers and rural workers in Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America, are urging governments to provide more support to smallholder farmers, to help them fight the impact of climate change on their livelihoods.

Small farmers and rural workers are among the groups most affected by the devastating impacts of climate change, however their voice is not being heard in climate change negotiations. In response, the Fairtrade Producer Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (CLAC) is attending the event in Lima, to advocate for the interests of vulnerable and marginalized communities.

The three Fairtrade Producer Networks say: “Through Fairtrade, producers are empowered to combat poverty, strengthen their position and take more control over their lives. However, climate change threatens to erode the benefits of these efforts, leaving the "playing field" even more unfair and unbalanced. Although Fairtrade provides great support, much more is needed to help smallholder farmers face these challenges and be able to continue to feed the world. There is an immediate urgent need to increase resilience to climate change and access more funding opportunities for climate change adaptation. Fairtrade producers urge governments and international actors involved in the agricultural sector to work together towards achieving food security and sovereignty for regional and global populations. Development based solely on unlimited growth of production and consumption is unsustainable, for both people and planet.”

Fairtrade International echoes the call of its producer network members and welcomes the increasing focus on climate change in recent weeks - such as the commitments by US and China to reduce their emissions, and the pledge of over $9.3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to support developing countries in reducing carbon emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change. However, it does not believe these commitments go far enough for smallholder farmers. The funding, while a good start, still falls short of the minimum $10 billion target set for 2014 alone, and is far from enough to supporting the millions of people confronted with droughts, crop failure and other climate-related effects on an ever-increasing basis.

While governments meet to further negotiate their pledges and commitments in Lima, Fairtrade producers are already finding ways to adapt their farming methods to the changing climate, with Peruvian farmers leading the way. Members of APOQ banana cooperative in Sullana, Peru have found innovative ways to adapt to climate change after much of their banana crop was damaged by pests last year. Field schools are enabling more than 200 farmers to improve their knowledge on soil conservation and integrated pest management. They are also cooperating with a nearby university to develop an organic eco-friendly repellent, making the plants more resistant. 

Access to climate finance is also hugely important to farmers. Together with leading standard-setter for carbon projects, The Gold Standard, Fairtrade International is developing a scheme which will enable vulnerable communities to become environmentally stronger and earn extra funds to face the effects of climate through carbon credit projects. Producers will take an active role in the projects, which will increase their ability to fight the effects of climate change in their community.

Notes to editors

Fairtrade International and the network of Fairtrade producers in Latin America, CLAC, are attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference from 1-12 December 2014 in Lima, Peru. They will be located at booth 60 and holding two side events:

  • 'Landscapes, Ecosystem Services & Smallholders: Putting cross-cutting concepts into practice' - Room Maranga (130), Wed 3 Dec 2014, 11:30 - 13:00
  • Fairtrade Carbon Neutral Coffee: How smallholders & communities benefit from fair carbon finance' - Room Maranga (130), Wed 3 Dec 2014, 16:45 - 18:45