February 14, 2023 – Today Ms Tamisha Lee, President of the WFO Member Organisation Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers went to FAO headquarters in Rome to bring the rural women producers’ voice to the IFAD Governing Council (#GC2023).
She joined the GC46 interactive session “Private sector finance for small producers’ climate adaptation: can it be done?”.

The high-level panel discussion, moderated by Dr Jyotsna Puri, Associate Vice-President of Strategy and Knowledge Department at IFAD, aimed to put a light on the effects of climate change escalate, the increasing frequency and severity of food and economic crises, and the effects of this crisis on small-scale producers’ yields and resilience capacity.

The panellists were called to discuss the challenges, including assessments of risk and costs of engagement, and opportunities of private sector finance and identify concrete investments and policy actions.
Scaling climate adaptation finance for agriculture requires the engagement of the private sector and of the local financial institutions, but must be a farmers-driven bottom-up approach, to be effective.

Ms Tamisha Lee started by highlighting that “the war on climate change and building strong, resilient, inclusive, and sustainable food systems will not be won with only the private and public sector at the table. A global, inclusive and collaborative effort is needed. So my presence here today as a leader of a Farmers Organization in Jamaica that promotes the empowerment of rural women across Jamaica is an indication that IFAD is moving in the right direction towards winning the war on climate change and building a strong food system.”

She then underlined that the Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers is yet to receive a loan for financing climate change adaptation/mitigation activities for its members: “we are aware of our role and the challenge of climate change. We are committed, we have ideas and solutions.”
And she remarked that thanks to JNRWP affiliation with the World Farmers Organisation, they are part of the global dialogue, and can actively contribute to international events like the last Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP27).

“Rural women in developing countries are among those who are worst affected by the impacts of climate change” – she continued – “many of whom depend on agriculture for their livelihood, making them more vulnerable when disasters hit.”
Ms Lee called the audience to face the fact that, during times of crisis, women withstand the worst of the fallout. They are the ones taking care of the children, the elderly, and the community so “it’s necessary that affordable financing be made available to rural women through Farmers’ Organizations and Corporative that support the empowerment of rural women.”

Farmers’ Organisations bring diverse community-based perspectives to climate action. That’s why including Farmers’ Organizations in all stages of any financing project is a crucial component of implementing climate action.

JNRWP President then remarked that, to be effective, “what we need is a Farmer Driven Climate Change Agenda. And that is what The Climakers, the initiative launched by WFO,  have been advocating for since 2018 with Jamaica contributing with powerful solutions like the Rio Minho watersheds, that are enhancing efficient water management and resilience to droughts.”

She closed her speech by remarking that climate financing needs to be less complicated and made more accessible to the persons who are most affected by its effects, like food producers and rural women: “it must fit for purpose, or we will spend the rest of time talking and not acting. The time for sustained action is now!”