Jenipher Sambazi, a coffee farmer from the slopes of Mt Elgon in Uganda visited Osbaston Church in Wales Primary school and Undy school in Monmouthshire for the annual Fairtrade Fortnight campaign to raise awareness of the challenges faced by farmers across the world and how fairtrade coffee helps protect tropical forests.
Jenipher met with pupils from Osbaston who are working with Size of Wales, to make their school the first deforestation free school in Wales.
In many countries, people are cutting down tropical forests to grow coffee. However, by buying fairtrade coffee which includes a zero deforestation criteria, you can guarantee that your coffee is not contributing to the destruction of our precious forests that play such a key role in tackling climate change.
“We want to become a deforestation free school and we know that simply choosing fairtrade coffee and chocolate will help us on our journey to achieving this”, said a pupil from the school.
In Uganda, Jenipher and members of the coffee cooperative are adopting farming approaches such as agroforestry – producing food alongside tree planting. This plays a role in climate mitigation and adaptation, with the potential to sequester significant amounts of soil carbon and reduce emissions through adopting cleaner practices, such as reduced fertiliser use. So far, the community in the Mt Elgon region have planted over 20 million trees thanks to a partnership between Size of Wales’, METGE and the Welsh Government. Despite this, smallholder and especially women farmers are rarely included in climate decision-making.
The effects of climate change are felt everyday by the farmers in Uganda despite them having done very little to contribute to its causes. Studies have shown that half of the land needed for coffee production could disappear by 2050, as a changing climate will alter the specific conditions coffee beans require to grow.
“Simply choosing Fairtrade makes a huge difference to halting deforestation and ensuring those producing the commodities we enjoy in Wales can make a fair wage enabling them to adapt to a changing climate” said Nichola James from Size of Wales.
Speaking at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, Jenipher shared; “Me and my fellow farmers used to be able to farm consistently. The seasons, the weather, nature, were predictable. Then we noticed changes. We first noticed the changes 20 years ago. We tried telling people, but nobody would listen. But thanks to Fairtrade, support from the Welsh Government and through Jenipher’s Coffi, the opportunities for us are growing.”
This partnership has shown that while we as producers unjustly face the burden of the crisis, there are ways for coffee drinkers to ease our load. More people here in Wales – and beyond – paying us fairly for our coffee and raising awareness of the challenges we face means we can continue to grow exceptional coffee in a way that doesn’t exploit our communities or our planet – hopefully far beyond the best before date some have put on coffee production.”
The Welsh social enterprise Jenipher’s Coffi – named after Jenipher – was set up to support coffee farmers to build their resilience in the face of a changing climate. Through their direct- trading partnership, the farmers of MEACCE receive a fair price for their speciality Fairtrade and Organic Arabica coffee, and receive support for tree planting and clean energy generation. So fairtrade coffee not only guarantees a fair price for farmers but it also has strict guidelines to ensure trees are not cut down protecting the planet and future generations.