Did you know 90% of the cocoa in your chocolate is produced by 5 million small farmers? Buy Fairtrade certified chocolate this Valentine’s Day and help farmers sell more on Fairtrade terms.
The United Nations has announced that 2014 will officially be the International Year of Family Farming - IYFF!
The Fairtrade International network has been working with small scale farmers for years, supporting them as they strive to eradicate hunger and poverty.
Find out more via the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Today is World Food Day. Did you know that seventy percent of the world’s food is produced by 500 million smallholder farmers? Did you also know that this group also represents half of the world’s hungry people?
Fairtrade contributes to making food fairer around the world by working hand in hand with smallholder farmers and workers, but much more needs to be done. For more information and ideas on how you can help make sure smallholder farmers are part of the solution in making food fair, please download the full report, Powering up Smallholder Farmers to Make Food Fair.
Also, don’t forget to Buy Fair and #BeFair on World Food Day, during Fair Trade Month and throughout the year.
Image credit: Eric de Mildt/Fairtrade International
Top chefs in Lima, Peru are now basing their cuisine on ancient crops, which are only produced by smallholder farmers. The new alliance that has formed between these chefs and the people who grow their food is helping to ensure that farmers can continue to produce traditional crops and make a decent living.
Climate change related events are on the rise, notably in developing countries. Producers in the Global South are increasingly feeling the brunt of climate change effects, including higher temperatures, increased rain, floods, and droughts.
Research carried out by the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich indicates that climate change “will have mainly negative impacts upon agricultural production, food security and economic development, especially in developing countries.”
Fairtrade coffee producers in Latin America are currently being severely affected by the spread of the leaf rust disease which is affecting over 50% of the total coffee growing area in Central America, and within the range of 30 - 40% in some South American countries. Climate change has been identified as a key factor facilitating the outbreak. Fairtrade producers are also being affected in Africa; tea farmers in East Africa, for instance, suffered heavy frost events in early 2012 which destroyed thousands of acres of bushes.
Unfortunately, the picture of the future does not appear promising. In fact, several modeling studies predict that by 2050 the productivity of coffee, cocoa, tea or cotton will severely be affected and production in some areas might even disappear. Many farmers will need to adapt their practices to the new climatic conditions or risk losing their livelihoods.
The Fairtrade Approach
As the effects of climate change become more evident, Fairtrade producers need additional technical and financial support to confront these new challenges. Beyond the benefits that Fairtrade offers to producers (Fairtrade Minimum Price, Fairtrade Premium, strong environmental standards, etc.), the system supports basic pre-conditions that are needed to implement climate change adaptation measures such as: organizational development, environmental sustainability, financial stability, investment possibilities, and greater autonomy.
Fairtrade acknowledges that the current benefits of the Fairtrade system are insufficient to help producers confront the effects of climate change. As a result, we have developed a climate change strategy that defines the scope, establishes Fairtrade priorities and provides a framework for action.
A global work plan for climate change has been developed, focusing on producer services (i.e. climate change standards), producer support for climate change adaptation (creating partnerships for adaptation projects), and producer-driven advocacy. The overall mission is to enable vulnerable producers to adapt to climate change and support them to mitigate the impacts, while promoting further sustainable development practices.
Fairtrade International and some member organizations have also introduced carbon reduction plans to reduce their operational impact on climate change.
Learn more about the global work plan, how climate change is addressed in the Fairtrade Standards, and how the Fairtrade movement is going even further to tackle this growing challenge.
So far, a total of $3.7 million has been distributed to seven cooperatives in Latin America, and the Fund is continuing to gather steam. By the end of 2013, the Fund is expected to grow to $25 million, and will eventually expand to Africa and Asia.
Farmers are feeling the benefits of the Fairtrade Access Fund’s first long-term and local-currency loans, along with working capital and trade finance loans.
Long-term loans allow farmer organizations to invest in projects that will improve farmers’ income in the long run, but they are the most difficult for farmers to access. A survey conducted by Fairtrade International in 2012 revealed that Latin American Fairtrade farmers report they need over $500 million to cover their financing needs. Over half of that amount would need to be covered by long-term loans. Long-term loans will eventually become the largest portion of all Fairtrade Access Fund loans as the Fund grows.
Most of the loans so far have gone toward trade finance loans (that includes the Fund’s very first loan, to COPROCAEL in Honduras). While trade finance loans are more commonly available, they are still an essential system of support for producers and will continue to play a role in future loans from the Fairtrade Access Fund.
The Fund is a collaboration between Incofin Investment Management, Incofin cvso, the Grameen Foundation and Fairtrade International. You can read more about how the fund works here. Stay tuned for stories on how the individual cooperatives are benefiting from the Fund’s first loans.
Seventy percent of the world’s food is produced by 500 million smallholder farmers; this group also represents half of the world’s hungry people. A newly-released report, ‘Powering up Smallholder Farmers to Make Food Fair’ (PDF), produced by the Fairtrade Foundation calls for urgent action to support smallholder farmers by laying out a five-point agenda for action and calling on leaders to use their influence to put smallholder farmers into the heart of governments’ trade policy and international business practice.