Paris climate agreements are failing smallholder farmers

Victor Biwot in the tea fields at Sireet Tea Outgrowers, Kenya.

A report published this week by Oxfam has criticized the Paris climate talks for having ‘failed’ poorer countries adapting to global warming. Entitled “Unfinished Business”, it points out the financial support pledged to tackle climate change falls well short of what is needed which means those most vulnerable to its impact — small-scale farmers — are being ‘left on their own’. Victor Biwot, a tea farmer from Kenya, agrees the West needs to be more realistic.

Smallholder farmers understand best the land and the weather cycles. Their relationship with nature is unique. And they are the people who know best the realities they face — the effects of climate change and the need to adapt to survive.

“…being part of the global dialogue about climate change felt inspiring, and empowering. The kind of mindset that is good to adopt when your livelihood is under pressure from erratic weather.”

When looking back, being part of the global dialogue about climate change — heralded as one of the most critical issues of our times — felt inspiring, and empowering. The kind of mindset that is good to adopt when your livelihood is under pressure from erratic weather.

Weather chaos

Rising temperatures, unpredictable rains and heavy frost are ending the predictability that we tea farmers could rely on in the past. This all adds a new layer of risk to our lives, on top of all the other things an average farmer has to worry about.

Let’s be realistic

Kenya is set to receive USD 1 million from the USD 100 billion pledged by developed countries. This amount is too small to address the damage the climate change has already done, and the adaptation work that needs to happen in years to come.

The cost of addressing climate change is high, but we can’t afford to ignore it.

The cost of addressing climate change is high, but we can’t afford to ignore it. Climate change is already threatening food security. Maize farmers, whose crops were affected in previous years, have begun to reduce the area to grow the food by 50%. But we need to produce more food not less, in order to feed the growing population.

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Fairtrade International is a group of organizations working to secure better trade terms for farmers and workers. Learn more at www.fairtrade.net

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Fairtrade

Fairtrade

Fairtrade International is a group of organizations working to secure better trade terms for farmers and workers. Learn more at www.fairtrade.net