In India with a population of over 1.3 billion, Kerala remains maximum impacted as on date with over 200 cases, 22 cases reported in Idukki and Kottayam where the majority of Fairtrade farmers from Manarcadu Social Service Society are based. Manarcadu Social Service Society currently supports 1249 farmer members who produce organic cocoa, coffee, spices, fresh fruits, and vegetables. The organizations have stepped up a notch by taking immediate measures to come up with short- and long-term plans.
Under the short-term plan, the management has made interim arrangements for its employees to “work from home” by providing laptops and internet facilities, to enable them to always stay connected with their farmers. Their daily activity includes a virtual team meeting in the morning with a prayer followed by counseling and advisory plans for its farmer members and proposing various supportive measures to be undertaken. In the evening the team share their report on the progress.
The farmers are daily briefed on social distancing, preventive measures to be taken in their homes especially for children and farmworkers and compliance to Govt. rules and regulations imposed across the State . All the workers are provided with personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizers, etc. The organization urges its members to consume locally grown vegetables and fruits, due to the shortage in supply of rice and staples in the market.
Further, to ensure their farmers don’t face any difficulties they have already purchased and paid for approx. 250 Mt of coffee, ginger, and turmeric during the crisis, however, there are no confirmed orders due to the ban on exports.
Their long-term plan includes purchasing more Personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizers, etc for its farmers, health awareness training to be conducted to combat such crisis in the future, procurement of coffee and other crops once the pandemic is over.
As the scarcity of food is going to be an issue, local vegetables, and fruit seedlings to be supplied to farmers to attain food security. The organization will be distributing approx. 150000 seedlings of fruits, vegetables, and spices from their existing poly housing project to all its farmer members and farm workers.