Isn’t that title just thrillingly trillable? So is the notion that consumers can use information to purchase products supporting their tastes in environmentalism and social justice. “October is Free Trade Month,” a billboard reminded me at the Berkeley BART station–also reminding me that dhaavak owes me a tip on a Rajasthani fair trade NGO. Taking up where the beloved Cicatrix left off, let us examine the possibilities for a mutiny of the wallet.
Cotton is crucial: ever since Megasthenes told Seleucus of ”there being trees on which wool grows” in Indika, it’s been one of the subcontinent’s great exports. For many diasporic desi dads, soft cotton wifebeaters are a must-not-forget purchase on trips back to the homeland. From Gandhi’s spinning days, the ties between social justice and khadi are apparently enshrined in a requirement that the Indian Flag be made only from khadi. Socially conscientious clothing is a constant work in progress, at home and abroad: ETC India.org and Dutch development group Solidaridad have announced that they will collaborate to create a Fair Trade Organic Cotton Supply Chain, connecting individual farmers, mills, clothing factories, and markets:
So far, 405 farmers have been enrolled in the programme, who are producing organic cotton in an extent of 1,352 acres of land spread over five rainfed districts in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh and two rainfed districts in the Vidharbha region of Maharashtra. . .He said that Rajalakshmi Mills of Kolkata was currently supporting farmers by purchasing cotton and marketing it in the US and Europe. Last fiscal, over 100 tonnes of lint cotton was sold at a premium of Rs 200 to Rs 250 per tonne over the prevailing market rates. (Link)
It’s the kind of support that’s vitally necessary to small famers whose plight has been highlighted by a plague of suicides.
Raise your hands if your parents usually have a giant bag of rice sitting in the kitchen. Basmati is a key ingredient in making our home away from home, and TransFairUSA now certifies fair traded rice from India, Thailand, and Egypt,:
Traditionally, these farmers have sold their rice to local middlemen rather than developing relationships with exporters. The low prices they receive often do not cover their costs of production, leaving them unable to repay the loans they need to buy seeds and fertilizer and further impoverishing their families. Fair Trade certification ensures that rice farmers receive a fair price for their harvest, creates direct trade links between farmers and buyers, and provides access to affordable credit. Through Fair Trade, farmers and their families are earning a better income for their hard work – allowing them to hold on to their land, keep their kids in school, and invest in the quality of their harvest.
There are three licensed west coast distributors of this fair trade rice, including this supplier of organic basmati rice. Consider taking contact information to your local grocer next time you go shopping.