Coffee lovers around the world are being urged to show their support for farmers hit by climate change by drinking a record amount of Fairtrade coffee between May 13th and 15th as part of the World Fairtrade Challenge.
"There is a chain on Earth that starts at the bottom where producers are. They are the ones who suffer the consequences of climate change, the ones who get the least help, and carry all of the burden. It's not fair."
-Bayardo Betanco of PRODECOOP Fairtrade Coffee Cooperative in Nicaragua.
How is climate change affecting coffee farmers?
Climate change affects millions of coffee farmers who are among the hardest hit by extreme weather, droughts, floods and crop disease. Unpredictable weather patterns make it challenging for them to grow and harvest their crop, as coffee plants are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature. In Latin America increased rainfall, humidity and higher temperatures have allowed the leaf rust disease to spread rapidly, leaving farmers no choice but to cut down acres of coffee farms.
This means that coffee farmers around the world struggle to grow and sell enough coffee to sustain themselves and their families.
How does Fairtrade empower coffee farmers?
More than 800,000 coffee farmers from 30 countries are part of the Fairtrade system. Fairtrade supports them by enabling access to technical knowledge and funds which they can use to successfully adapt to, and mitigate against, the worst effects of climate change.
In 2013-14, coffee farmers worldwide received a total Fairtrade Premium, the extra money they get in addition to the minimum price when selling their coffee on Fairtrade terms, equivalent to more than $50 million (read more about the impact of Fairtrade). They can, for example, use the Fairtrade Premium to invest in their farms or in training to improve their farming practices. Access to technical knowledge means they can take steps to change the way they farm so that they can adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
How can you help coffee farmers?
Do you like coffee and want to see farmers getting a fair deal? With the World Fairtrade Challenge millions of coffee lovers around the world can raise their cup to support small-scale coffee farmers. We hope to drink a record number of cups of Fairtrade coffee within three days and to send a powerful message that small-scale coffee farmers have global support for their fight against climate change.
Groups or individuals can participate by registering on the World Fairtrade Challenge website and either host or join a coffee break event. They can log the number of cups they drink and Fairtrade will add them up. Participants are also invited to go beyond the initial challenge of hosting an event by challenging other groups to match the amount of Fairtrade coffee they drink.
Ideas and materials for organizing events are available at www.fairtradechallenge.org along with information about climate change and its effects on small-scale farmers.
Find out more about World Fair Trade Day and how you can support farmers and workers this May.