Meet Our Shop for Change Certified Farmer Organizations

December 16, 2009

Shop for Change has certified 2,397 cotton farmers in three farmer organizations working in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat.  Here’s a little more information about each of the great groups that we currently certify:

1. Chetna Organic Farmers Association

Chetna empowers farmers to own, develop and sustain their livelihoods under a flagship of institutional cooperatives.

Apart from being a foundation for farmer support – Chetna Organic Farmers Association (COFA) and a producers company – Chetna Organic Agriculture Producer Company (COAPCL), Chetna Organic is a belief of more than 8000 predominantly tribal farmers in the practices of sustainable agriculture and ethical trade.

It is an effort to support small and marginal tribal farmers from the rain-fed regions of  Andhra Pradesh (Telangana), Maharashtra (Vidarbha) and Western Orissa (Kalahandi & Bolangir) to adapt agrarian systems which are more sustainable and more profitable, by minimizing their dependence on external factors.

2. Zameen Organic

Zameen Organic is a pioneering farmer-owned marketing company for fair trade, organic and pesticide-free cotton.  Zameen works with marginalised farming communities in rural India to improve livelihoods by increasing efficiencies, lowering input costs and raising incomes through certification.

Zameen’s ethos and objectives centre on farmer empowerment. The organization’s farmers are the largest shareholders in Zameen and therefore play a big part in shaping their policies as well as benefiting from shareholder dividends.  Zameen is also a supply chain management company, seeking out partnerships with likeminded companies to more evenly distribute profits along the value chain so that their farmers get a ‘fairer’ slice of the pie.

Zameen works with 5,000 cotton farmers in two states in India, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.  Within Maharashtra, Zameen works with farmers in the Amravati district of the Vidarbha region, a center of the farmer suicide tragedy.  Within Andhra Pradesh, Zameen works with farmers in the Adilabad region in both the Wankidi district and in Kagaznagar. These are part of the tribal areas known as adivasi.

3. Agrocel Industries Ltd.

Agrocel Industries was founded in 1988, with a mission to make all possible agricultural inputs and marketing support available to farmers at the right time and at a reasonable cost with all necessary technical assistance and guidance under one roof so that farm productivity and incomes increase along with national productivity- all through fair deals.

With Agrocel support, farmers have implemented environmentally sound agricultural practices,  as well as improve the quality of life for the producers.  Agrocel markets agricultural products including cotton, rice and wheat and promotes sustainable production, organic farming and fair trade practices with 20,000 farmers across six states in India. It pays a sustainable price with premiums for organic and fair trade cotton. It also provides agricultural inputs at cost price, interest-free pre-finance, and agricultural advice and support from Field Service Officers.  Shop for Change works with a group of Agrocel cotton farmers from the arid Rapar area of Kutch, Gujarat.

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