Fairtrade Fortnight 2023: Endangered Foods

10 March 2023

Fairtrade Fortnight is a time for individuals, supporters, and businesses across the UK to come together to celebrate Fairtrade.

This year’s campaign highlights the urgent threat to the future of the foods we love and the livelihoods of the people who grow them.

Did you know coffee, chocolate, and bananas could soon be much more difficult to buy? Climate change is making crops like these harder and harder to grow. Combined with deeply unfair trade, communities growing these crops are being pushed to the brink.

  • Studies suggest that by 2050 up to half of the world’s land currently used to farm coffee may be unusable1.
  • 80% of the world’s food comes from 500 million family farms, where people are increasingly facing the worst effects of the climate crisis. Yet these small-scale family farmers often lack access to the resources they need to adapt to a changing climate2.
  • In a recent Fairtrade survey of coffee farmers in Fairtrade co-operatives in Kenya, 93% of those surveyed are already experiencing the effects of climate change, including more erratic rainfall and an increase in pests and diseases, like thrips and coffee berry disease3. Similarly, coffee farmers in the Caribbean and Central America, such as the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua are at risk of increased heatwaves and droughts as a result of climate change1.

So, what can we do to help?

Well, luckily there’s good news.

Fairtrade is supporting farmers to become more resilient to climate change, whilst at the same time giving consumers, retailers, and businesses the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint. By making the small switch to Fairtrade, we can all support producers in protecting the future of some of our most-loved foods and the planet.

We are delighted to say that in 2022, Compass Group UK&I and Foodbuy contributed an estimated £100k in Fairtrade Premium to Fairtrade farmers and workers in partnership with a number of suppliers. That’s almost double that of last year’s! Notably, approximately £58k of this total was attributable to Fairtrade coffee purchases, equivalent to 223 farmers supported. This is all thanks to our partnership with a number of suppliers including:

  • Tate & Lyle - In the last 13 years of partnership, Foodbuy UK has raised over £606,000 of Fairtrade Premium through sales of TateLyle sugar, directly supporting Fairtrade certified cane farmers of The Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association (PSCPA) in Belize.
  • UCC Coffee: Since our partnership with UCC Coffee, we have generated almost £58k of Fairtrade premium. These vital funds have helped support over 600 farming communities worldwide.

Hear from smallholder Fairtrade cocoa farmer, Saddick, who, with the help of his Fairtrade cooperative, was able to invest in climate resilience.

Saddick, 39, Fairtrade cocoa farmer, Ghana.

“I didn’t know I was punishing the land, now because of this project I’ve seen the benefits, there are more nutrients in the soil.

Saddick farms nine acres of land for cocoa. He’s been doing this for 18 years and it’s getting increasingly difficult due to the climate crisis. Part of his farm lies high on a rocky, steep hillside, unfriendly terrain for cocoa plants. Saddick is working on gradually surrounding it with shade trees. This is a technique he discovered after joining an agro-forestry project through his Fairtrade cooperative, which offers farmers training in methods to adapt to climate change by improving soil, planting for shade, and attracting biodiversity.

We look forward to further strengthening our partnership with the Fairtrade Foundation and continuing to fight for the futures of the foods that we love and the farmers who grow them.

  1. Feurer et al. 2021, Fairtrade International ‘Fairtrade and Climate Change’ Systematic review, hotspot analysis and survey.
  2. UN Food and Agriculture Organisation
  3. Fairtrade Foundation, FairVoice Mobile Survey, Kenya 2022