Fairtrade offers warning to UN gathering that agricultural systems are “teetering on collapse”
Fairtrade has warned international leaders that global food systems, including the key cocoa sector, are facing unprecedented climate challenges that have left agricultural resources “teetering on the edge of collapse,” reports Neill Barston.
The social justice movement offered its latest assessment of sector conditions as governments have gathered in Rome for the 2023 UN Nations Food Systems Stocktaking Moment, which is set to explore resilience and environmentally efficient production methods.
Notably, the Fairtrade Foundation, which is set to join our World Confectionery Conference on 5 October at the Harrogate Convention Centre, Yorkshire, UK, will be speaking on the topic of sustainability within cocoa supply chains, which remains a vital element of the broader confectionery industry, which has itself faced major challenges.
“We know that in as little as 30 years, rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns will have rendered many regions unsuitable for growing essential crops,” said Juan Pablo Solis, Senior Advisor for Climate and Environment at Fairtrade International.
“Sustainable, equitable food systems are critical for the survival of both people and planet. By proactively adopting sustainable and resilient food production models, we can avoid and mitigate many adverse climate impacts.”
“The UN Stocktaking Moment provides the international community with an opportunity to make a final push towards a truly sustainable planet,” added Javier Aliaga Lordemann, Director of the Fairtrade Centre of Excellence in Climate & Environment. “But that won’t happen without a more sustainable food system built on holistic ecological, social and economic foundations.”
As the organisation noted, it has launched a new sustainable agriculture policy [li calls for resilient food systems based on agroecology – the application of environmentally and socially responsible principles to farming. The organisation warns that failure to adopt agroecology on a global scale could result in widespread crop losses and shortages of certain foods.
“Climate impacts will inevitably trigger a host of environmental, social and economic consequences,” said Solis. “Countries whose economies rely on cash crops will suffer a drop in income. Forests and protected reserves will be at risk of deforestation as farmers seek more productive land. The livelihoods of entire communities will be threatened, and food systems will face significant upheaval – not just in the countries where food is grown, but where it is consumed.”
Among the many climate challenges which are being faced for communities around the world include temperature spikes in countries such as Colombia, as well as core areas such as West Africa, which can potentially significantly impact crop yields.
Furthermore, the major increase in crop fertilisers experienced in many locations around the world has meant that farmers have struggled to maintain and manage their land effectively, leading to further negative environmental impact.
As Fairtrade noted, organisers of three-day Rome summit that concludes tomorrow, have asserted it will be an opportunity to “further socialise the powerful role of sustainable, equitable, healthy and resilient food systems” and to accelerate the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – now only six years away.
“Fairtrade’s agroecology blueprint shows how sustainable farming can lead in turn to sustainable food systems, sustainable livelihoods and social justice, especially in rural areas,” explained Lordemann.
“We firmly believe that agroecological principles will enable two million Fairtrade farmers and workers to work in a way which benefits us all whilst helping to deliver Agenda 2030. There is barely a single one of the 169 different SDG action points that isn’t somehow related to food and farming. A sustainable future must also be a fair future.”
- The Fairtrade Foundation will be at our World Confectionery Conference on 5 October – July is the final month of our Early Bird rate offering – contact our sales manager Chris Meer at [email protected] to claim a £30 discount off visitor rates for the event. For more general details on our line-up, which includes the likes of Ferrero, Caobisco, Nestle, Cargill and insights from FMCG Gurus, visit www.confectioneryconference.com