Shoppers unaware how climate will affect bananas

Majority of UK consumers don’t realise that the climate poses a threat to supplies of tropical favourites like bananas or coffee, survey finds.

Most shoppers aren’t aware that climate change is threatening supplies of bananas, coffee and cocoa according to a new survey.

The survey by The Fairtrade Foundation also showed there is little public awareness of how fairer trade helps farmers in these countries adapt to climate change and create a sustainable future for tropical food products.

Growers of bananas, coffee and cocoa are already facing reductions in yields due to global warming, but the situation could accelerate with further temperature increases, leaving importing countries like the UK vulnerable to shortages.

New academic research from Vrije University and Bern University of Applied Sciences has found that ten banana growing countries could face “drastic” reductions in yield if climate change increases, and 90 per cent of cocoa growing regions could become unsuitable if temperatures increase by 2.1 degrees.

But 60 per cent of the 2,000 people surveyed by Fairtrade were not aware of the potential supply crisis caused by climate change.

While over three quarters of those asked said that it was important to help overseas farmers adapt to climate change, most participants didn’t realise that they can support overseas growers through fairer trade, as fair incomes for farmers can help build climate resilience.

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The campaign is raising awareness of the postive impact of buying Fairtrade products. 

Smallholder farmers in low-income countries are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, with droughts, floods and storms severely threatening livelihoods of producers across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean,” said director of the Graduate Institute for International Development, Agriculture and Economics (GIIDAE) at the University of Reading, Dr Sarah Cardey.

“For these farmers and workers, a decent income is absolutely essential for building resilience to climate shocks and ensuring they can adapt to a continually evolving climate,” she said.

The survey was commissioned ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight, an annual campaign to raise awareness of the positive impact of buying Fairtrade products.

Although most of those asked did not understand the link between Fairtrade and the climate crisis, 70 per cent said that it would motivate them to buy certified products if it ensured future supply of tropical foods.  

Chief executive of The Fairtrade Foundation, Michael Gidney, said: “Cocoa brings so much joy to anyone who loves chocolate, but more needs to be done to ensure that farmers growing these products are supported to live and work well and build their resilience to the devastating impacts of the climate crisis.

“By choosing Fairtrade, they can make a real, tangible difference to the lives of people who grow much of the food we love to eat in the UK.”

5 Comments

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  1. Incidentally, I am puzzled by the concept of ‘organic’ bananas because if the roots aren’t treated chemically they will inevitably get Panama disease and the whole plantation is ruined. This means the soil must have chemicals in so how can the soil association call them organic?

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  2. Becoming something of a farce all this “help the world with climate change” isn’t it? With the Russians bombing hell out of the Ukraine, blowing up fuel dumps and threatening to drop nuclear devices because they are doing as well as they thought! I’m more worried about nuclear fallout than some twee little fool worrying if his bananas will taste OK – it rather looks like we are all going to hell in an handcart so lets jump on and go for a ride – few will survive this the way its going!

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    1. To Walrus

      While we are indeed under threat of war ‘Walrus’, there is no reason to give up and die so easily without a fight! Do our best to the end, look after our planet and our citizens. War May never come and we may survive all this you know. So look after each other while we have a chance and don’t be so selfish!!
      Annebelle

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    2. Annebelle

      Who said anything about giving up? Let us just get our priorities right shall we? the first priority surely is stop the war – climate change (if such a thing exists) is more about slow reduction of a relative warming of the planet (I’m sure the planet has been through all this before, several times, a bit like reverse ice ages – the planet warms up the planet cools down, all over a fair few years, tis a natural phenomina) But nuclear war warms up rather too quickly AND gives off nasty radiation which kills on it’s own! That MUST be the priority now, not this slow stuff that is getting the majority of the world excited!

      Remember if you want Peace, prepare for War! Many (but not all) have not been doing this for a long time and now because we do not believe it can happen it is on our doorstep so to speak all ready to cause havoc – for some it has arrived already!

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  3. Wow, I am astonished at what you are saying Walrus. When I heard about the war, my first thought was this is going to derail our attempts to stop man made climate change, which surely most of us know is really happening. The war will cost lives and is a tragedy of course, but the potential disaster of climate change will not just kill humans, but perhaps all other creatures who played no part in this potential disaster. Life as we know it may no longer exist. Of course the same could be said of nuclear war, but that is not, I hope, as likely to happen as global warming, unless we do something quickly to stop it.

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