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Governments failing poor farmers in climate change fight

13th Oct 2017

A new Oxfam report published today finds that, despite repeated pledges of funding, small farmers in poor countries are not getting the help they need to feed their families and adapt to climate change.

The analysis of agricultural policies and public investments in Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Tanzania found that very little money is going to support small-scale farmers to help them become more resilient to climate change. It is also almost impossible to trace how much is reaching women farmers, a group especially threatened by climate change.

Instead, the analysis of funding by governments studied showed it is skewed more towards infrastructure projects, private sector initiatives and more prosperous areas.

Women farmers make up 43 percent, on average, of farm workers in developing countries. Yet barriers in accessing land, credit and training have led to women farmers producing about 20 to 30 percent less food than men. Closing this gender gap would help lift millions out of hunger and poverty.

Ruth Segal, Oxfam Food and Agriculture Policy Advisor, said:

"Climate change is not a future threat but is already here and happening now. Yet governments continue to fail to deliver on their promises to help the most vulnerable farmers adapt and ensure that they can feed their families.

"Women on the front lines of climate change need help to overcome the barriers facing them rather than struggle on waiting for money to trickle down. Investing directly in women farmers not only helps them and their families, it also increases food security for entire communities."

The countries investigated by Oxfam are struggling to attract sufficient funds to help them adapt to climate change. For example, in Pakistan, just 26 percent of the $1.17 billion in climate finance received in 2014 went towards adaptation, with much of the money in the form of loans. As of May 2017, Nigeria had received only $15 million for adaptation.

Oxfam is calling on international governments to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and step up their funding aimed at helping communities adapt to climate change. Developing countries must increase funding specifically for women farmers.

Under the Maputo Declaration, African leaders committed to spending at least 10 percent of their national budget on agricultural development. While Ghana's came close to this target in 2010, the average amount spent between 2010-2015 was just 5.5 percent; Nigeria spent 1.9 percent over the same period; and Tanzania's spending was an average of just 2.2 percent between 2007-2017.

Oxfam found that governments across all the countries studied are doing little to make sure women farmers benefit from the insufficient amounts of climate and agriculture funding. For example, in Nigeria, climate adaptation policies simply 'encourage' women to participate in initiatives but go no further.


For more information, contact Maria Jeffery, Oxfam Press Officer or Tel: +44 (0)1865 472302