Fairtrade Africa has rolled out Phase 3 of its Climate Academy Project in Ethiopia to increase coffee Small Producer Organisations resilience and adaptive capacity through training and subsequent application of insights, skills and techniques designed to better adapt to climate change.
The Climate Academy Project is a Dutch Postcode Lottery funded project with funding to the tune of 1.1 million euros. The first two Phases are being implemented in Kenya targeting Small Producer Organisations in Machakos, Kericho and Nandi counties. The Ethiopian project is implemented in collaboration with Fairtrade International, the Max Havelaar Foundation in the Netherlands, Food Cabinet and the International Institute of Coffee Research. The goal of the project is to increase coffee farmers’ resilience to climate change by systematically building their capacity.
Fairtrade’s unique benefits, such as the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Premium, and their Standards which foster organizational development, environmental and financial sustainability, and greater autonomy provide a strong foundation for farmers to begin implementing climate change adaptation measures. But Fairtrade also recognize that producers need additional support and funding to effectively deal with the multi-faceted effects of climate change.
Climate change impact is significantly affecting coffee farmers in Ethiopia. Regional studies have shown that climate suitability for the Arabica coffee bean that traces its birthplace back to Ethiopia, is affected by climate change within current regions of production. Increases in temperature and changes in precipitation patterns is decreasing yield, reducing quality and increasing pest and diseases. This is putting the livelihood, food security and wellbeing of farming families at risk.
Coffee production is vital to the Ethiopian economy, aside from its cultural value; coffee is the country’s single largest source of export revenue, worth more than $860 million in the 2016-2017 production years. The project targeting six primary producer groups from Oromia Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union, western region of Ethiopia, seeks to strengthen Coffee farmers through provision of institutional and management capacity to help them effectively tackle climate change; improve resilience to climate change through sustainable agricultural land management practices; promote an energy switch to renewable energy; increase opportunities for households of smallholders coffee farmers to diversify and engage in alternative income generating activities and facilitate in the development of the Climate Academy Guide for adoption to other producer organizations.
According to a 2017 research undertaken by researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in the United Kingdom and scientists in Ethiopia, rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall could render as much as 60% of Ethiopia’s coffee-growing areas unsuitable for cultivation by the end of the century. This will affect over 15 million farmers and the 15% of the country’s population dependent on the coffee industry.
About Fairtrade Africa
Fairtrade Africa was established in 2005 and is the independent non-profit umbrella organization representing all Fairtrade certified producers in Africa.
Fairtrade Africa is owned by its members, who are African producer organisations certified against international Fairtrade standards producing traditional export commodities such as coffee, cocoa, tea, cotton, bananas, mango and non-traditional commodities including shea butter and rooibos tea. Currently, the organisation supports over 500 producer organisations and represents over one million small holder farmers and workers across 32 countries in Africa, ensuring they get better prices, decent working conditions and fairer terms of trade, while also contributing to the sustainability of the environment.
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