Partners Speak

PRODUCERS SPEAK WITH RAPAR AND DHRANGADHRA FARMER PRODUCER COMPANY

By September 25, 2019 No Comments

In conversation with Shailesh Patel; Founder Director /CEO of Rapar and Dhrangadhra Farmers Producer Company since 2015.

Q.Can you provide a brief background of Rapar and Dhrangadhra Farmers Producer Company and its commitment to sustainability?

A. Rapar and Dhrangadhra Farmers Producer Company is 100% owned by Small Producers who grow cotton, sesame, peanut and other crops. The company was registered in 2015 under the Producer Company Law. It operates from two regions in Gujarat, India:- Rapar from Kutch Region and Dhrangadhra from
Surendranagar region. Initially, started with 498 members, it has now grown to 798 members as share-holders. All the producers in the Organization are small and marginal farmers.

Our region suffers from scarcity of water and therefore, the producer members from Kutch are highly dependent on rainfall. It becomes extremely difficult when there is less rainfall. We are currently working with our members to harvest rain-water,storage and imparting training on effective usage of water for agriculture.

Q.When and why did the Organization get Fairtrade certified? What has been the benefits received post the certification ?

A. The Organization received its Fairtrade certification in 2016. The main goal of the Organization is to increase the per capita income of our farmers therefore, it has undertaken various activities to support the farmers, which involves seed production, composting, drip irrigation, and transport facilities for agriculture goods etc. We opted for Fairtrade certification to support our sustainable development goals and to ultimately reap benefits for our farmers.

Q.What is the importance of Fairtrade cotton to the farmers in small producer organisation?

A. Ethical Fairtrade practices;

✓ Fairtrade Minimum price supports them against market fluctuations;

✓ Training on increasing productivity and income, adoption of new technologies at farm level;

✓ Fairtrade premium which improves and strengthens their economic and social status (such as bonuses and fair price for their product).

✓ Many social and environmental development activities have been taken up with the premium amount which is a great support to their daily life such as rain water harvesting, tree plantation , seed production , road construction etc.

✓ Educational support to their children with the set-up of new class rooms and smart class which supports the children for higher education.

Q.Is the production likely to increase or decline in the coming season? What are the major challenges?

A. Cotton production is likely increase by about 10 to 15% next year. However, there are certain challenges such as very less rain or unseasonal rain due to which producers are constantly facing loss in productivity and quality, provision for higher education for the children and difficulty in transportation of agri-produce as the project is located in an interior area where commutation is a major challenge.

Q.Can you touch base on the Fairtrade premium interventions and how has it added to the growth of cotton in the Region?

A. Fairtrade has been supporting the organization in increasing the income and profitability of small farmers. Due to this development there are numbers of farmers who are interested to join Fairtrade and opt for membership in the Organization.

Q.What are the scopes for the Fairtrade small producer organization to build on its potential to move up the cotton value chain?

A. It is a very big challenge for Organisation to move up the cotton value chain due to the requirement of very high investment and proper management structure. However, I think we need to focus on producers and think about more opportunities to increase their profitability.

Q.Is there any message you would like to share with our commercial partners?

A. Our commercial partners are not aware about Fairtrade impacts on the ground. It would be a real help to the small producers and their family to improve their life if people buy Fairtrade knowing the impact it creates with their purchase.

Q.Is there any message you would like to share with our commercial partners?

A. Our commercial partners are not aware about Fairtrade impacts on the ground. It would be a real help to the small producers and their family to improve their life if people buy Fairtrade knowing the impact it creates with their purchase.

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