“Everyone needs to come onboard, and we fight this giant that is called climate change.”

We risk losing our food supply if we don’t take global collective action together with farmers, says Martin from Fairtrade Kenyan coffee cooperative, Mutira Coffee Farmers Association.

This Fairtrade Fortnight special podcast features Martin’s first-hand experience of climate change, and the Co-op supermarket’s initiatives to combat it.  We hear from Oikocredit who explain why food can only be secured if farmers receive stable, high prices and agriculture is invested in.

Martin Kinyua Mathenge Ndegwa, Assistant manager, Mutira Coffee Farmers Association

Emily Pearce, Senior Sustainable Sourcing & International Development Manager, Co-op

Hans Perk, Director of Specialised Finance and Community Building, Okiocredit

Conversation summary

  • Incredible urgency of climate change.
  • Working with farmers is the way to combat climate change.
  • Martin: unpredictable weather patterns makes agriculture very difficult. Coffee needs water to grow and in processing – but farmers are experiencing too much or too little frequently.
  • Farmers were experiencing climate change 25 years ago.
  • Unpredictable weather is affecting food supply.
  • Water is a major concern for farmers in Africa – drinking, hygiene, sanitation, watering crops.
  • The Co-op’s approach to Fairtrade across a range of foods.
  • Martin comments on his experience of deforestation causing climate change.
  • Martin: global collaborative action is needed to combat climate change.
  • Martin: if the price for crops is too low, farmers are more likely to expand their farms and grow more crops which leads to deforestation (social injustice will cause further climate destruction).
  • Hans: farmers need stable prices over high prices. Volatility causes problems. 20 years ago the coffee prices were higher and they were still low. Not enough investment in agriculture.
  • Subsidies are used instead of addressing structural trade problems.
  • Triple threat: Climate change, biodiversity collapse and growing population many without basic needs being met.
  • Emily: we need to listen to the science and redesign supply chains and farm in a way that is nature sensitive.
  • Martin: everyone needs to come together to fight climate change. We need more mitigation projects – to help protect farms and sustainable and diverse farming. Training on climate change needed for farmers and educate consumers.
  • Hans: We need investment in water and technology (smart phones are very useful for farmers). Farmers need to be put first to fight climate change.
  • A true partnership is needed – farmers need knowledge to be part of the solution on the farm.
  • All businesses and all governments have a part to play to support supply chains to adapt future of food
  • John talks of Producers Direct’s honey initiative.


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