Earlier today, farmers representing the Fairtrade alliance presented the following statement to delegates at the COP18 UN Climate Talks in Doha, Qatar:
As small-scale farmers, we are personally confronted by climate change on a daily basis. And as networks representing Fairtrade producers, we are receiving more and more reports from our members who are struggling with its effects. Hail and frost has destroyed tea plantations in the west of the Kenya, causing tea farmers to lose millions of Kenyan shillings. Lower yields and poor quality are causing many coffee farmers in Latin America to abandon their farms. And in Kerala, India, 40 % less rainfall this year threatens to drastically reduce Fairtrade farmer’s coffee and rice yields.
We are doing all we can to deal with the impact of climate change on our very livelihoods. We have planted shade trees to create buffer zones to deal with extreme temperatures and drought. We are applying indigenous methods such as digging of trenches and using more organic inputs to conserve
water and protect the soil against fertility loss. And through support received from some partner organizations, we have been able to set up cook stoves that help us save wood, and solar lighting for our communities. But all these things cost money, and need technical expertise. And as the most vulnerable, our efforts to address climate change as well as our demands for support remain largely unheard.
Fairtrade has not only provided us with a way to improve our livelihoods through better production and management practices but also better trade options. Furthermore, Fairtrade through its advocacy work has offered us the greatest opportunity for our voices to be heard and our concerns to be incorporated into decisions at the highest level.
After attending COP 17 as part of a Fairtrade delegation, we were all hopeful that climate adaption finance mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund would provide us with financial resources to better adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Unfortunately up to now, little of these resources have reached the farmers who need it most. Action is needed, and fast. At this COP, we want to put forward three major requests in the area of climate financing;
- We ask the UNFCC and the international community to focus on adaptation as much as mitigation. We have experienced enough of the real effects of climate change, and they can no longer be avoided.
- We call on governments to ensure adaptation finance is made readily available to those that need it the most: rural, and climate-vulnerable communities.
- We call on businesses to make investments in climate change adaptation at farm level to ensure the sustainability of their supply chains and to enable us to continue producing the food that will feed the world of tomorrow.
About the AuthorTckTckTck is the online hub for the Global Call for Climate Action. The GCCA represents an unprecedented alliance of more than 400 nonprofit organizations from around the world. Our shared mission is to mobilize civil society and galvanize public support to ensure a safe climate future for people and nature, to promote the low-carbon transition of our economies, and to accelerate the adaptation efforts in communities already affected by climate change.
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