The State Coordinator for Fair Trade has presented the report ‘Climate emergency, food production and Fair Trade on the occasion of the Climate Summit, COP27, which begins on November 7 in Egypt, in which it deepens the link between the current model of food production and consumption and global warming, and how it particularly dramatically affects the most impoverished and agriculture-dependent populations. Gender inequality and its relationship with climate change, as well as aspects of climate financing.
Among the main conclusions of the report, it highlights that the effects of global warming will reduce world agricultural production by 30% between now and 2050 if the appropriate measures are not adopted; and, in the case of maize, wheat and other crops, the decrease could reach 80% in southern Africa.
“From production to consumption, international trade has a significant impact on the climate crisis”, declared the executive director of the World Fair Trade organization, Leida Rijnhout, who stressed that the world trading system “needs a transition towards practices sustainable, including the social dimension that is the other side of the coin of this crisis.
For his part, the head of climate change at Fairtrade International, Juan Pablo Solís, has warned that “small agricultural organizations, which already live in a situation of poverty and vulnerability and are paid very low prices, cannot be expected to for its production, bear the full cost of the ecological transition.
In addition, he recalled that “rich countries must fulfil the commitment of the Paris Agreements and reach 100,000 million dollars in financing to help the most vulnerable communities to combat a crisis that they have not caused.”
Adapt to climate change
According to calculations by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, developing countries “would need between 180,000 and 300,000 million dollars annually for actions to adapt to climate change.”
The report also concludes that climate change poses “a serious threat to food production.” Extreme events such as storms, hurricanes or droughts devastate crops, destroy agricultural infrastructure and cause desertification and the reduction of arable land.
IFAD also warns that without the right political and climate action, production of maize, wheat, millet, peas and other products in eight southern African countries could fall by as much as 80%.
In the case of coffee, the area suitable for its cultivation could be reduced by 50% between now and 2050. And, in general, global agricultural yields could decrease by 30% by 2050, according to recent research by Oxfam.
On the other hand, the report highlights the “important” role of small farmers’ organizations, which represent 95% of farms worldwide. These are the ones that produce a third of the food consumed in the world, and in developing countries, they account for between 60% and 80% of the food consumed there.
80% of people in extreme poverty live in rural areas
The study indicates that 80% of people living in extreme poverty live in rural areas and therefore have special difficulties in coping with the effects of climate change and combating it. The World Bank estimates that by 2050, 143 million people in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia could migrate to cities for climate reasons.
The report highlights the impact of trade and conventional production on climate change. Several UN agencies point out that unsustainable levels of production and consumption are responsible for the emission of an alarming amount of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases into the atmosphere.
It also reveals that commercial agriculture is the cause of 80% of deforestation worldwide and that 13 million hectares of forest are lost each year. On the other hand, the process of soil degradation, which already affects more than a third of the global surface, “has been triggered mainly by the elimination of grasslands and savannahs for agricultural purposes.”
Lastly, the publication explains how fair trade and its practices demonstrate that “a business model that respects the environment and a decent life for its workers is possible.” Thus, it ensures that the payment of decent and stable prices, adequate salary remuneration, and training and advice “make it easier for agricultural organizations to carry out an ecological transition, maintaining productivity and income”.
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