Monday, 16 July 2012

Fairtrade Price and Premium

The Fairtrade minimum price for traditional basmati rice from India is €243 a ton plus €30 Fairtrade social premium and €20 organic premium. The social premium can be invested in business, social or green projects agreed by a committee of selected council. The farmers have already received Fairtrade premium payments for sales to Switzerland and France and all of the village clubs has submitted proposals for community projects. Funds have been granted and distributed to a number of projects which are now up and running.
Infrastructure improvements for schools and roads

Repair the broken boundary wall of a village primary school.
Five groups plan to construct move toward roads from their villages to the farming fields in the vicinity which become inaccessible during the rainy season.
Raising the level of a school playground which is not viable during the monsoon season because of standing water.
Construction of a bus shelter outside one village to protect waiting passenger from rain and sun.
Construction of a number of small bridges over drains which overflow and make some villages out-of-the-way during rainy season.

Proposed Loan fund

Most of the farmers depend on one rice crop, and therefore one annual payment at collect time, for 80-90% of their cash income. They have to take out loans during the year to buy seed and inputs, to pay for various functions such as weddings and festivals and pay for health care and education. Usually they are at the mercy of local agents who charge a very high rate of interest and to whom they are in large debt. A revolving soft loans fund would allow members to reduce their debt and the capital fund would grow through the interest payments.

Future projects

the farmers’ villages classically have a primary school but very few children from farming families go on to higher education and the villages lack primary health care amenities. The farmers want to look into how they can improve the chances of their children going on to university and the potential of funding village clinics or a local hospital.

Members also want to set up family planning and green protection programmers and provide training for income generating schemes for women such as fruit and vegetable preserving and handicrafts.