Life & Style

Fairtrade India works with farmers and consumers for a sustainable future

Fairtrade India, part of a global not-for-profit network that works to enable small farmers and workers in the agriculture sector earn a more sustainable livelihood, has held various events and activities to generate awareness over nearly a month.

The Fairtrade India project, funded by the European Union which has given a grant under the SWITCH-Asia Programme, aims to promote Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Under its Spot the Mark campaign, schools, universities, workplaces and communities registered their support for the campaign. According to Fairtrade India, there were 12,782 registered participants across 29 events at this year’s Fairtrade Week.

In Bengaluru, the latest event, was the Fair Bake Sale by chef Vinesh Johny and his students from Lavonne Academy using Fairtrade ingredients. Prior to that, students of Vidyashilp academy, India’s first Fairtrade School, interacted and informed people at RMZ Galleria Mall about Fairtrade, sustainable practices and related issues.

Abhishek Jani, CEO, Fairtrade India, says that Fairtrade works with farmers across the country from coffee growers in BR Hills in Karnataka, and tea growers in Tamil Nadu and Darjeeling to rice farmers in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Fairtrade India works with farmers and consumers for a sustainable future

He adds, “Small farmers, particularly, are not able to get a suitable price for their produce. The other aspect in the agricultural value chain is that there is a lot of exploitation, invariably because of the economics of different products: in price realisation, cash flow, access to financing and so on. As a result, you see the exploitation of vulnerable communities. In these circumstances, Fairtrade creates a more equitable and fair system, where we bring small farmers together in collectives and try to get them to commit to better practices and standards. Checks are done by FLOCert, an ISO certified company.

“We link the markets and the farmers to ensure the latter gets a better price. In the context of coffee, that means they get a Fairtrade minimum price that covers the cost of their production (similar to the Minimum Support Price provided by the government). In addition, we have the Fairtrade premium that ranges between 5% to 15% of the cost of procurement. The farmers get that as a community investment, which can then be used as a catalyst for healthcare, education and also to improve productivity, follow better practices and so on. And because brands are sourcing from the sustainable supply chain, they are able to communicate, connect with consumers and say that they are following better practices and being more sustainable.”

Fairtrade certified
  • Food products include Paper Boat peanut chikki, Makaibari tea, Black Baza coffee, Chamraj tea, Pascati chocolates, Maestrani chocolates
  • Fashion brands include No Nasties, Huetrap, Aizome, Soul Space, Ecoelate

According to him, there is more awareness and interest in sustainable practices and issues. Says Abhishek, “Thanks to the SWITCH-Asia grant, we have been able to scale up. We are reaching out to more schools, partners, businesses. That is one part of it. People should also understand how it affects farmers when we push for the lowest prices of produce. The youth are also getting more involved and want to play a more proactive role. Sustainability as a topic is also picking up in society and over a period of time we are creating more choice (in terms of products created using sustainable practices).”

He adds, “It is important that various stakeholders are acknowledged. Collectively, we are making this a part of the mainstream.”

Visit fairtradeindia.org for details.


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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 8:00:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/agriculture/fairtrade-india-works-with-farmers-and-consumers-for-a-sustainable-future/article30287033.ece

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