Fairtrade farmers’ COP26 warning to world leaders: intensifying climate impacts pose serious risk to global agricultural production and livelihoods

**Interviews and photo opportunities with farmers in Glasgow available**

A delegation of Fairtrade farmers from climate vulnerable nations will gather at COP26 in Glasgow to warn political leaders that the summit presents their last, best chance to reverse climate damage to their livelihoods, crops and communities, as highlighted by new research published today.

The Fairtrade group – which includes small-scale farmers from Ghana, Paraguay, India, Malawi and Côte d’Ivoire – will speak at a series of advocacy events within the Blue, Green and Innovation Zones of COP26 summit. They will seize the opportunity to urge rich, high polluting governments to meet their pledges on emissions cuts and climate finance.

The delegation will represent Fairtrade’s 1.8 million farmers and workers worldwide, whose livelihoods are directly under threat from climate change, as evidenced by the results of an alarming new study, Fairtrade and Climate Change, published on Monday.

Conducted by researchers from the Vrije University Amsterdam and Bern University of Applied Sciences, the study reveals that the intensifying effects of climate change pose a serious risk to global agricultural production in key regions worldwide. It paints a bleak picture of the future of popular foods such as bananas, coffee, and cocoa, warning that in some areas, the climate crisis will make crop production very difficult in the near future.

Elsewhere the study suggests that millions of farmers could be at risk of financial collapse as their livelihoods come under growing climate pressure. Increased investment in climate adaptation and resilience measures are critical if plummeting incomes for farmers are to be prevented, it recommends.

“The report’s results are extremely alarming and a clarion call for immediate and comprehensive climate action,” said Dr Nyagoy Nyong’o, Global CEO at Fairtrade. “The threat to the future of many supply chains is very real and our planet’s farmers and agricultural workers are on the frontline of this global climate crisis. We must do everything to ensure they are not left behind and that they are indeed a part of the solution.”

Just 2 percent of climate finance goes to small-holder farmers in low-income countries. Yet, 80 percent of the world’s food comes from 500 million family farms. As such, at COP26 Fairtrade farmers will argue why the promised $100bn in annual climate finance must reach farming communities, in order to secure a just transition and fair future for all. 

Fairtrade farmers will speak at key advocacy moments during COP26:

  • The Fairtrade delegation will host a Green Zone panel discussion on Tuesday 2nd November, at 16.30: ‘Fairtrade farmers, our food and the fight for climate justice’. There, farmers will present four urgent climate recommendations outlined in their open letter to world leaders, published internationally earlier this month. They will be joined by Ben & Jerry’s, who are among the leading companies who have pledged their support to the Fairtrade farmers in a recent business climate pledge.
  • Fairtrade will host a panel at the Blue Zoneon Wednesday 3rd November at 18:30: Putting farmers first for fair resilience in cocoa: a debate with farmers, industry, and science. Cocoa farmers will be joined by Steve Murrells, Co-op Group CEO, and Tony Simons, Executive Director of Alliance CIFOR-ICRAF. The debate will explore the need for farmer-focused investment to meet deforestation and resilience challenges at a time when west African cocoa farmers are amongst the world’s poorest.
  • Elsewhere, flower producer Mary Kinyua, Fairtrade’s representative on the COP26 CSO & Youth Advisory Council, will speak at a panel event at the Climate Action Innovation Zone on 11th November, during the Agri-Food Transition Summit.

The events at COP26 (listed in full below) form part of the Be Fair With Your Climate Promise campaign, which is being run by Fairtrade’s global network of farmers and workers in partnership with the international Fairtrade movement – including the Fairtrade Foundation (UK), Fairtrade Africa and Fairtrade America.

The campaign urges leaders at COP26 to listen to the expertise and needs of farmers who grow much of the world’s food, who are disproportionately hit by climate change and who, despite limited incomes, want to be part of the solution to a more sustainable future. As part of the initiative, Fairtrade has mobilised the public to sign a global petition to support the farmers’ call for action: to date, more than 17,500 people have added their names.


Fairtrade farmers, experts and senior leaders will be available for interview in Glasgow throughout COP26. Email tomilola.ajayi@fairtrade.org.uk for information.

Image: A Honduran coffee farm that was split by one of thousands of landslides in San Luis Planes, in Santa Barbara, following hurricanes Eta and Iota in late 2020. Credit: Sean Hawkey

Notes to editors

The following events at COP26 will feature Fairtrade speakers (all times in BST):

31 October: Pathways to Paris, 18.30, Theatre Royal Glasgow Centre
Speakers include Malawian Fairtrade sugar farmer and youth representative Rachel Banda.

2 November, Fairtrade Farmers, Our Food and the Fight for Climate Justice, 16:30 – 18:00, Tower Base North, Green Zone. Press photo call: 16:00
A live, interactive panel discussion with Fairtrade farmer representatives and business leaders, who will discuss what further action is needed from citizens, business and governments to scale-up global efforts to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. Farmers will also highlight their efforts to support their communities to transition to more climate-friendly farming methods.
Speakers: Benjamin-Francklin Kouamé, Ghanaian cocoa farmer and Fairtrade Africa board member; Andres Gonzales, sugar farmer from Paraguay and board member of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fairtrade Producers and Workers (CLAC); Muniraju Shivanna, Indian sugar farmer and board member of the Fairtrade Network of Asian & Pacific Producers (NAPP); Cheryl Pinto, Global Values Led Sourcing Manager at Ben & Jerry’s. Chaired by Mary Kinyua of Oserian Flowers, Kenya, who is Fairtrade International’s representative to the COP26 President’s Civil Society and Youth Council. Register now to access remotely.

3 November: Meet and greet with Fairtrade farmers at the Fairtrade Green Zone exhibition stand: 10:00 and 15:00. (Fairtrade representatives will be at the stand from 09:00-18:00.

3 November: Putting farmers first for fair resilience in cocoa: a debate with Farmers, Industry, and Science, 18:30-19:45. Lomond Auditorium (Blue Zone)
Cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire are amongst the poorest in the world, so farmer-focused investment is needed to meet deforestation and resilience challenges. Farmers and businesses will debate the new trends transforming the cocoa industry with a fair and just transition. Speakers: Mary Kinyua, Fairtrade International; Bismark Kpabitey Ghanaian cocoa farmer, Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union; Steve Murrells, CEO Co-op Group; Tony Simons, Executive Director, Alliance CIFOR-ICRAF.

11 November: Youth and decision-makers discuss nature, energy, water and sustainability in the global economy, 11:30, European Pavilion (Blue Zone)
Co-hosted by the European Economic and Social Council and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, the event will feature Fairtrade sugar farmer Rachel Banda speaking on behalf of Fairtrade about the importance of climate change from the perspective of youth: www.cop26eusideevents.eu/

11 November: Climate Action Innovation Zone – Agri-Food Transformation Summit, 14:15-15:00
The Agri-Food Transition Summit is an official programme of events organised by Climate Action on behalf of COP26, with a focus on the role of business in addressing the climate crisis. Speakers will discuss the urgency of climate action by partners across global agricultural supply chains and exploring what future partnerships need to look like in practice. Speakers include Fairtrade’s Mary Kinyua and CEO of Co-op Food, Jo Whitfield.
Attendance requires registration for the full day of the Agri-Food Transition Summit. Register now to join remotely or in-person.

11 November: A Fair Race to Net-Zero: Scaling fair, inclusive and gender-focused voluntary carbon markets, 16:45-18:00, Clyde Auditorium (Blue Zone)
Panel event run by FairClimateFund (Netherlands) to discuss the issues relating to carbon projects, carbon finance for adaptation in developing countries, carbon markets as a mechanism to reduce emissions and the alignment of the SDGs with the voluntary carbon market. Featuring Juan Pablo Solís, Fairtrade International’s Senior Advisor for Climate and Environment, alongside speakers from FairClimateFund and WOCAN.

Fairtrade farmer bios

Mary Kinyua – flower producer, Kenya, and COP26 CSO & Youth Advisory Council member
Mary Kinyua is representing Fairtrade on the COP26 CSO & Youth Advisory Council, and is Director of Human Resources at Oserian Flowers. Mary was previously chair of the board of Fairtrade Africa and has over 15 years of experience in various fields of leadership, including her work at Oserian Flowers, a Fairtrade certified producer organization in Kenya. As the representative on the CSO Advisory Council, Mary is representing 1.8 million Fairtrade farmers and workers.

Benjamin-Francklin Kouamé – cocoa farmer, Côte D’Ivoire, and Fairtrade regional board member
Benjamin-Francklin Kouamé is a cocoa producer from the ECAM cocoa cooperative, and chairman of the management board of his cooperative since 2014. He is vice-chair of the Fairtrade Africa Board, representing 1.1 million producers across Africa and the Middle East. Previous roles include: member of the Reform Committee of the coffee-cocoa sector in Côte D’Ivoire, board member of the Inter-professional Fund for Agricultural Research and Consulting, and board member of the Federation of Ivory Coast Coffee Cocoa Producers Organisations.

Muniraju Shivanna – sugar farmer, India, and Fairtrade regional board member
Muniraju Shivanna is a sugar farmer and board member of the Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP), where he represents 284 producer organisations across 20 countries, supporting more than 260,000 farmers and workers. He is the NAPP board’s focal point for climate change projects. He has initiated various projects for producers including a carbon and water footprint project, as well as the YICMBR project, involving youth in the monitoring system for sugar cooperatives in India.

Andrés González – sugar farmer, Paraguay, and Fairtrade regional board member
Andrés is a sugar farmer and the current General Manager of Cooperativa Azucarera Manduvira in Paraguay, a sugar-producing Fairtrade-certified organisation. He is alsoa board member of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fairtrade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC), where he is part of the Climate Change Committee and CLAC’s Advocacy Committee. 

Rachel Banda – sugar farmer, Malawi, and young co-operative official
Rachel Banda is sugar farmer and a Safety, Health and Environmental Officer at Phata Cooperative, a Fairtrade sugar producing organisation in Malawi. Rachel has over seven years of experience in health, safety and environmental issues. As well as ensuring the cooperative complies with environmental regulations and standards, her roles involves enforcing climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.

Bismark Kpabitey – cocoa farmer, Ghana, and climate change project lead
Bismark Kpabitey is a cocoa farmer from the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union. He is also a lead trainer for dynamic agroforestry under the Alliances for Sankofa project, funded by Co-op, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa and Danish International Development Agency. Having adopted dynamic agroforestry farming himself, he has spearheaded an initiative aimed at encouraging the older generation to register land to allow next generation farmers to be engaged in dynamic agroforestry farming, in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change.