Small-scale farmers and climate change. How can farmer organisations and Fairtrade build the capacity of smallholders?
As climate change impacts are increasingly felt by smallholder farmers, there is an urgent need to identify approaches that strengthen ongoing economic development efforts and enhance the adaptive capacity of farmers, their households and their communities. Through a literature review and analysis of case studies of two Fairtrade-certified farmer organisations in Uganda and Malawi, this paper explores the links between farmer organisations, Fairtrade and adaptation to climate change, as well as the extent to which such institutions and market arrangements can enhance the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers. The paper’s findings suggest that membership of farmer organisations and participation in Fairtrade can strengthen smallholders’ capacity to adapt to climate change in a number of ways, including: better access to services; strengthened social capital within local communities; enhanced financial capital and improved access to credit; and access to market information.