The global food crisis will deepen and efforts to tacke it will fail unless urgent action is taken to support small farmers in developing countries. Despite the fact that UK Fairtrade sales topped £700m in 2008, a new report from the Fairtrade Foundation has highlighted the seriousness of the situtation facing growers in countries like Uganda, Mlawi, Nicaragua, India, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean. The Global Food Crisis and Fairtrade: Small farmers, big solutions? revealed that many of these smallholders and farmers' groups are having to spend up to 80% of their entire household budget on basic food items. Rocketing food, fuel and fertilizer prices have meant in some cases families have been forced to reduce the amount of land they plant or even sell some of their land as they can no longer afford to farm it. "The food situation is really bad," Joseph Mbusa of the Mubuku Moringa Vanilla Farmers Association in Uganda tld the report. "Apart from times of calamities such as drought, this is the most difficult time we've known." Fairtrade Foundation Chief Executive Harriet Lamb urged governments and business, North and South to ensure this small farmer sector is placed centre stage in strategies to tackle the food crisis and boost agricultural production. Some 450 million small farms around the world are home to two billion people, one third of humanity. The Foundation's report was published yesterday ahead of a major high level conference in London to discuss the impact of the food crisis for small farmers and Fairtrade Fortnight which begins on Monday 23rd Februarty and runs until 8th March with the theme Make It Happen.
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