Stories from the climate front-line at #COP21

At COP21 IFAD has caught up with some rural farmers that through its partnership with the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) it has helped to bring to Paris to take part in the UNFCCC conference on climate change.

Smallholder farmers are already feeling and fighting the effects of climate change, so we wanted to speak with them to highlight their first-hand experience in the daily battle they face on their farms.
We spoke to Mildred Crawford, a pig farmer from Jamaica. She is primarily a livestock farmer, rearing pigs, however recently she has specialised in artificial insemination.

IFAD: How is climate change effecting your farm?

Mildred: The global crisis of precipitation variability is having a negative impact on the quality of rain-fed agricultural produce in Jamaica.

The Caribbean region depends entirely on rain. Jamaica, Dominica, Grenada are some of the many Caribbean countries that experience severe flooding, especially within the last 15 years. For Jamaica, the impact of climate change sees us experiencing many climate shocks such as severe droughts and storm surges. High storm surges lead to mass displacement.

We are also experiencing the invasion of reptiles and farmers are increasingly noticing that their farms are subject to soil erosion, which is especially bad in coastal areas. Many farmers who inhabit coastal lands are experiencing drastic reduction in farm land. 

Reduction in rainfall also results in smaller and lower quality agricultural produce. This in turn makes it more difficult for small farmers to compete in a competitive marketplace, further damaging incomes. 

IFAD: What would you like to see coming out of COP21 in Paris?

Mildred: I believe it is the dream of every person living within the Caribbean to see balance. Balance for us means equality. Between the rich and the poor, and also between men and women, more specifically rural women in agriculture. We hope that these negotiations at COP21 can bring us that.

IFAD: What can IFAD do to help?

Mildred: I believe there are two things IFAD can do to help. The first is strengthening the capacity and the modus operandi of primary producers in advocacy. And the second is to continue their support for women in agriculture.