Coffee is a drink that many of us feel we can not do without. But if we want to continue drinking our favorite drink in the future, we must take joint responsibility and create conditions for a more socially sustainable agriculture in the countries where people try to make a living from growing coffee, writes Hewan Temesghen from Fairtrade.
Sweden is today one of the countries that drinks the most coffee in the world. When International Coffee Day is celebrated, it is important to raise the issue of growers trying to make a living from producing coffee. Climate researchers have long warned that the arable land for coffee may be halved by 2050. Higher temperatures, longer dry periods and an increased risk of damage require a rapid transition to a more sustainable agriculture.
The coffee grower Luis Palacio in Colombia is one of those who has been able to follow closely how the climate has changed. Some shrubs have completely stopped yielding, he says. Therefore, his cooperative has had to move the coffee bushes higher up in the mountains where it is still a bit cooler. But there is still a concern about unexpected natural events - that all hard work should be washed away if it suddenly rains for several days.
- It is important to figure out how to protect our land, he explains.
By merging coffee growers into cooperatives and becoming Fairtrade-certified, growers receive support in managing climate change, training in how to adapt agriculture, for example by switching to more climate-resistant crops, increasing the diversity of cultivation and using water more efficiently. .
But switching to sustainable agriculture requires resources. For growers to be able to do that, all of us who like coffee need to pay the price for a socially sustainable production. A new report from the WWF shows that the number of forest fires in the world is increasing. WWF lists a halt to deforestation as a necessary measure to overcome the problem and urges consumers to buy certified products. Fairtrade-labeled coffee also helps to promote biodiversity and combat deforestation. At the same time, coffee growers get better economic conditions in an international market fraught with severe price pressure.
With the help of Fairtrade training, Luis Palacio's cooperative Cooperativa de cafés especiales Sierra Nevada (COOCAFE SN) has succeeded in planting more resistant coffee bushes that can withstand global warming better - to secure coffee cultivation in the future.
We want to see more nicely grown coffee in cafes and shops, in coffee rooms and office landscapes, in picnic thermos and on breakfast tables. We urge public sector procurers to set sustainability requirements and employers to offer coffee produced with consideration for both people and the environment. Because if we want to be able to drink our favorite drink in the future, we must take joint responsibility for a more sustainable coffee.
Fairtrade is an international certification of raw materials grown in countries with widespread poverty. The certification means that the product is produced with regard to high social, economic and environmental requirements. Fairtrade is the only certification that has a stated goal of combating poverty by strengthening people's influence and drive. Growers and employees own half of Fairtrade International and are involved in all basic decisions regarding criteria and certification. It creates a global platform where growers and consumers can meet on equal terms.