Fair Trade Farmers Spearhead Climate Adaptation Efforts


Image credit: AdapCC

One of the stranger memes to come from the recent influx of climate skeptic/denialist commenters on this blog has been the idea that the developing world can't afford robust action to cut emissions. Yet the evidence keeps on mounting that the poor will be hit hardest by climate change, with many regions already suffering water shortages. That's why it's good to see projects that are looking beyond mitigation—taking bold and ambitious steps now to aid communities in adapting to our changing climate. Matthew has already reported on how adaptation is becoming a crucial part of climate change plans. Now a project lead by UK Fair Trade pioneers Cafe Direct is helping coffee and tea farmers create a more resilient future in the face of an already changing climate.

Run as a public-private partnership with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, the AdapCC initiative supports coffee and tea farmers in developing strategies to cope with both the risks and impacts of climate change.

Starting out with pilot projects in Mexico, Peru and Kenya, the initiative is looking to scale up its work—both with coffee and tea farmers in other regions—and also across the broader agricultural sector. The latest AdapCC newsletter outlines the ambitious scope of the project—working on everything from better pest management to reforestation to use of renewable energies and carbon sequestration.

Crucially, the project is also tackling the effects of climate change that are already making themselves known—for example exploring solar dryers as an alternative to the traditional coffee drying techniques which have been affected by changing rainfall patterns.

Fair Trade has always been about much more than a fair price on a bag of beans. But it's good to see this demonstrated in such a concrete (and crucial) manner.

The developing world cannot afford inaction on climate change. Projects like this may well prove a crucial lifeline while they wait for the world to wake up to the mess we find ourselves in.

Tags: Activism | Africa | Agriculture | Germany | Mexico | United Kingdom

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