For World Environment Day on 5 June, Fairtrade America is offering open resources to all coffee farmers through its Climate Academy, while Fairtrade International is hosting a webinar on the 25 June focusing on climate change and its impacts on the coffee industry.
Over the past three years, Fairtrade has collaborated with more than 8500 Kenyan coffee farmers to collate their skills and experiences with implementing best practices for adapting to climate change.
Fairtrade says coffee, cocoa, and banana farmers have faced a decrease in harvest due to extreme weather conditions related to climate change.
This has resulted in a loss of income and lower abilities to implement or invest in these new practices. Extreme weather conditions can also impact farmers access to basic necessities such as clean water, sanitation, and food.
The Climate Academy seeks to overcome this through teaching farmers to be self-sustainable with a hope that these skills will be shared with other farmers.
Skills such as how to grow drought resistant crops and to care for soil are taught alongside lessons on using cow manure to produce energy that reduces the need to cut down trees for firewood.
“We have greatly benefited from the Fairtrade Climate Academy training. We can’t rely on the standard rainy seasons anymore. Fortunately, we are now better prepared to handle these circumstances,” says Judith Roto, a Fairtrade coffee farmer from Kibukwo in western Kenya.
The Climate Academy’s content is available via Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/user/fairtradeafrica/featured) and has been translated into five languages to ensure it is spread not only among Fairtrade’s network of 750,000 farmers and producers, but to farmers outside this system as well.
Content will also be loaded onto portable projects to reach remote regions.
“Sharing knowledge and financial resources are critical to farmers being able to maintain and improve their livelihoods,” says Peg Willingham, Fairtrade America’s Executive Director.
“To produce sustainable goods, we need to start by providing the people who grow them with tools, practices, and resources to become more resilient. Fairtrade is a valuable partner for ethical companies looking to source sustainably produced raw ingredients and materials.”
Fairtrade International and Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society will also co-host a webinar on 25 June in celebration of World Earth Day.
Titled, ‘Empty Cups: Climate Change and the Future of Coffee’, the event will feature a virtual panel that will discuss climate change and its impact on the coffee industry and what consumers, those within the industry, and legislators can do to change this.