This paper explores the links between farmer organisations, Fairtrade and adaptation to climate change, and the extent to which such institutions and market arrangements can enhance the adaptive capacity of smallholder farmers. It looks in detail at two Fairtrade producer organisations in Uganda and Malawi and asserts that joining a producer organisation and Fairtrade certification can strengthen the capacity of smallholders to adapt to climate change on several fronts. It also introduces some key enabling factors such as higher income, access to newer technologies, better farmer training, and an environment which facilitates farmer innovation.
The paper is organised as follows: section 1 introduces the paper; section 2 sets out the contextual issues in greater depth; section 3 introduces a smallholder adaptive capacity framework, to shape the analysis; section 4 reviews existing literature about the impacts of farmer organisations and Fairtrade on smallholder farmers; section 5 details two case studies from Malawi and Uganda, demonstrating the impacts of farmer organisations and Fairtrade on their members; and section 6 summarises the main discussion points and sets forth key remaining questions.
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