With less than one week until the crucial climate change talks start in Paris, Fairtrade producers from Latin America and Africa are preparing to travel to UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) to make the voice of smallholders heard in the debate. They will be joining the call for a binding climate deal, sharing the resourceful ways they are finding to adapt and calling for more support for small-scale farmers, often amongst the worst hit by climate change.
See a full overview of Fairtrade’s events at COP21
Victor Biwot from Sireet tea cooperative in Kenya is one of the Fairtrade producers attending the climate change conference. He and his cooperative have been feeling the effects of climate change for some time.
“Climate change is affecting our productivity,” he says. “Farmers can no longer predict when is the best time to prepare their farms or start planting. In previous years it used to work like clockwork, but now you just can’t tell.”
Fairtrade is raising awareness on climate change amongst producer organizations, and supporting them to develop adaptation plans.
Through expert technical support, field schools, and demonstration sites, producers are learning how to implement adaptation measures in their own farms and communities.
Fairtrade producer networks are coordinating the projects and supporting farmers to share best practices.
Victor’s cooperative was one of 22 producer organizations in East Africa to receive adaptation training through one such project, AdapTea.
“Inter-planting trees with tea helps to reduce the effect of climate change,” explains Victor. The trees provide shade to the tea, and protect it from hail and frost. We are also encouraging farmers to try to grow other crops which are less affected by drought”.
Also in Kenya, women coffee farmers are receiving training to increase the yield, quality, and resilience of their coffee bushes, and also installing biogas units to reduce deforestation for firewood. Watch a video here.
During the conference Fairtrade will also be hosting a launch event for Fairtrade Carbon Credits and presenting the first partners in this innovative new initiative to support farmers and vulnerable rural communities in their fight against climate change.
The launch builds on the publication of the Fairtrade Climate Standard in October, and will enable vulnerable communities to reduce emissions while also strengthening themselves against the effects of climate change.
Find out more about Fairtrade’s climate change work.