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COP26 is our last chance, say farmers threatened by climate change

29 October 2021


Working a drought-stricken maize field in northern Ghana

Working a drought-stricken maize field in northern Ghana

FAIRTRADE farmers from climate-vulnerable nations will bring a warning to political leaders at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. The delegation of small-scale farmers from Ghana, Paraguay, India, Malawi, and Côte d’Ivoire will tell politicians that the summit presents their last and best chance to reverse climate damage to the farmers’ livelihoods, crops, and communities.

They will be bringing the results of new research, which has found that climate change poses a serious risk to global agricultural production in key regions worldwide. The study, Fairtrade and Climate Change, by researchers from Vrije University, Amsterdam, and Bern University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland, 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.

The study also 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.

Currently, two per cent of climate finance goes to smallholder farmers in low-income countries; but 80 per cent of the world’s food comes from 500 million family farms.

The global chief executive of Fairtrade, Dr Nyagoy Nyong’o, said: “The report’s results are extremely alarming, and a clarion call for immediate and comprehensive climate action. The threat to the future of many supply chains is very real, and our planet’s farmers and agricultural workers are on the front line 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.”

A global petition organised by Fairtrade, the Fairtrade Farmers’ Letter, calling for greater investment in smallholder farms, has been signed by 19,200 people.

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