By Prossy Nandudu
As the World gears up for COP28, small holder farmers, who produce a third of the World’s food, and experience adverse effects of climate change are missing out on climate change mitigation finances.
This is according to a study from the new alliance of farmer networks representing over 35 million small-scale producers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific, that was released today, ahead of the COP28.
The analysis of international public finance for climate mitigation and adaptation was conducted by Climate Focus in 2021, and a snap shot of the study reveals that the agri-food sector received US$8.4billion in international public climate finance – around half the US$16 billion spent on energy – with climate vulnerable and food insecure countries such as Zambia and Sierra Leone getting just US$20 million each.
That 2% of international public climate finance (US$2 billion) was directed at small-scale family farmers and rural communities, equivalent to around 0.3% of total international climate finance from both public and private sources. And yet smallholders’ finance needs are estimated at US$170 billion per year in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, according to the report.
Only a fifth (19%) of international public climate finance spending on food and agriculture was used to support sustainable and resilient practices such as agroecology (US$1.6 billion) but the estimated requirement is between US$300 – 350 billion a year among other findings.
Commenting on the findings, Hakim Baliriane, Chair of the Eastern and Southern Africa small-scale Farmers Forum (ESAFU) called for collaborations between the private sector and government to ensure that farmers access the funds needed for increase in production, in the wake of climate change.
“Climate change has pushed 122 million people into hunger since 2019. Reversing this trend will not be possible if governments don’t work with millions of family farmers. Together we produce a third of the world’s food yet we receive a small fraction of the climate finance we need to adapt.” Baliraine added.
The report, Untapped Potential, also shows that 80% of international public climate finance spent on the agri-food sector is channeled through recipient governments and donor country NGOs.
“This makes it harder for family farmer organizations to access because of complex eligibility rules and application processes, and a lack of information on how and where to apply,” added the report.
Other challenges faced by small holder or family farmers, as highlighted by the report include lack the infrastructure, technology and resources to adapt to climate impacts with serious implications for global food security and rural economies.
Family farms of less than two hectares produce a third of the world’s food (32%) while farms of 5 hectares or less account for more than half of the global production of 9 staple crops – rice, peanut, cassava, millet, wheat, potato, maize, barley and rye – and grow almost three-quarters of the coffee and 90% of the cocoa. Over 2.5 billion people globally depend on family farms for their livelihoods.