Launched in 2013, Fairtrade India is part of a global movement that aims to support marginal farmers and workers with fair wages, ethical working conditions and equal rights. In India, the company works with over 120,000 Fairtrade producers, who grow everything from coffee and tea, to rice, spices and cotton, according to CEO, Abhishek Jani. We tried Fairtrade India’s Ambootia range of Darjeeling green tea and are happy to report that unlike most green teas that tend to taste like dishwater, this tea’s delicate flavours enhanced with a spoon of honey, reminded us of the earth and the forests. The Ecolife Organic Fair Trade long grain rice, though cumbersome to make, what with soaking it for nearly two hours, then cooking it on an open flame, was worth the effort because of how well the fragrant rice went with our Sunday afternoon meat curry. In an email interview, Jani tells us about the nature of Fairtrade India’s work in the country, the kind of products one can buy under the Fairtrade umbrella and how we as consumers can make a difference.
How will I help a farmer by buying Fairtrade products?
The Fairtrade Mark is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers. There are over 70 Fairtrade-certified producer organisations active in India. In 2011-12, producer groups received `19.40 crore as the Fairtrade Premium, an amount that the farmers and producers receive over the minimum price and is invested in improving living and working conditions. The premium is invested back into their farms and in community projects such as education scholarships for their children and more. When you buy a Fairtrade-certified product, you are helping farmers and workers improve their lives by taking control over it.
What are the different products now available in India?
There are a range of Fairtrade-certified products that include tea, coffee, spices, rice and cotton clothing that is gradually coming into the mainstream markets. This includes Oothu black and green tea, Ambootia range of Darjeeling teas, Malabar spices from Manarcadu Social Service Society, and rice from different producers. You can buy Fairtrade products at retail stores such as Nature’s Basket and Spar and we are expanding to more retail stores soon. Fairtrade products are available with major e-retailers such as bigbasket.com and we have a Fairtrade store on Amazon.in too.
Details: www.amazon.in/fairtrade or log on to fairtradeindia.org
— Amrita Bose