Climate Change: Voices of Small Producers

This year, small producers’ organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean have experienced the effects of climate change in a number of different ways. First of all, the rapid spreading of diseases such as coffee rust in coffee fields in southern Mexico, Central America and Peru has diminished productivity in the region and increased production costs. In Brazil, drought and intense sun when coffee berries are being formed, followed by heavy rains during the drying period for the berries, have reduced the quality and size of coffee berries. Intense winds in the Caribbean and Colombia led to the loss of a portion of this year’s banana harvest. And in Costa Rica, sugar cane production was affected by drought, with high temperatures, followed by torrential rains.

These are only some examples of the challenges faced by small producers who, despite adversities, are making efforts and implementing strategies to adapt to climate change effects.

This document summarizes some of the experiences shared by producers who belong to the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers (Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Pequeños Productores y Trabajadores del Comercio Justo — CLAC). The aim is to illustrate the reality confronting farmers from different countries and representing different products, as well as some of their successful experiences in adapting to climate change. CLAC represents organizations that are democratically-organized within Fairtrade; oversees their strengthening and development; facilitates assistance to their members; promotes their products and their values; and works to influence various social, political and economic entities.

This document was developed as part of CLAC’s activities designed to identify, promote and publicize the good practices associated with climate change that are carried out by small producers in the Americas. We hope this publication illustrates small producers’ strength and capacity for change, and that the cases presented serve as a point of reference and motivation for other small producers.

All the producers’ organizations mentioned in this document are Fairtrade certified and sell their products under the Fairtrade seal. Fairtrade standards promote sustainable development through sound agricultural practices that guide farmers in mitigating climate change impact and implementing adaptation measures.