Sweet Success and Sugary too!!
Raju Ganapathy, a Fairtrade Liaison officer, reports on a sweet Fairtrade success story in India.
I came to Dharwar, a small city, overnight from Bangalore, the buzzling capital of Karnataka. For the first time I conducted a group training on Fairtrade for the representatives of seven sugar producer organizations.
Fairtrade sugar is pretty new to India. These seven producers got inspired to join Fairtrade through the Khadrolli Primary Agriculture Credit Cooperative Sangha, the first Indian sugar producer to gain Fairtrade certification, back in 2010. They were already organic certified, giving them a stepping stone to progress to Fairtrade. In addition, their trader and exporter, Pure Life has provided them with good organizational assistance.
In 2011 Khadrolli cooperative received an amazing Fairtrade Premium of 110,000 Euros from the sale of 2318 MT of sugar. No wonder the farmers extolled the virtues of the program when I asked them about their views on Fairtrade.
Bhartesh Patil was clear that “Fairtrade certification, by providing premium, strongly supports our organic intervention.” Kandu added that “Fairtrade certification provides an opportunity to create a brand name for both the Pure Life and the sugar producers on the international market.”
The next day I was able to visit Khadrolli society to see first-hand how they have used their Premium. They showed me the tractor they have purchased, along with the chaff cutter machine, which will help them to turn harvest waste into organic compost.
The society has also supplied farmers with a kit of state of the art bio-fertilizers. One of the farmers, Irappa, enthusiastically listed the benefits : wider girth, taller crop and greener sugarcane. Two other farmers, Subhash and Hammanavar, reported that this organic manure completely substitutes any chemical fertilizers, savings cost, labor and time. As I was leaving I asked Mr Gambol their manager to track sugar content in the coming harvest to see if it also increased as a result. I wound up my trip happier that Fairtrade had brought some tangible positive results to this farming community.