Fairtrade - In the Frame - Meet the Makers!
In December 2008 we took photographer Mark Ingram to India to meet some of the fabulous people working to make our ranges. We went right the way back to the start of our supply chain and over the course of a week followed the cotton through from Fairtrade organic cotton farmer to factory.
Sridhar Laxman Phukat
Sridhar farms 8 acres (4 acres of organic cotton and 4 acres Green Gram). He lives in Agar village in Maharashtra and is married with 4 children. The Fairtrade premium the community received last year bought cows and this year they will repair the roads going down to the farms. In the future they hope to develop drinking water units and a bore well, as there was a drought this year.
Vandana Sridhar Phukat
Vandana is a farmer from Akola and is married with 2 children. She and her family have 10 acres joining the Fairtrade Chetna project 3 years ago. They farm organically, which she prefers. She says ‘farming without expensive chemicals costs less and we get a good set price for our cotton.’
Sridhar is a marginal farmer who owns 2 acres plus he gets a daily wage working for other farmers.
Shriram Baliramji Koutake
Shriram is a farmer with 2 acres. He is married with 2 daughters and 1 son. He also works for other farmers as a field worker and has been farming organically for 3 years as part of this group and the Fairtrade Chetna project.
Subhash is 22 years and works as part of a team employed to move cotton around the gin. He learnt English at college and wants to join the Police Force. His father died 2 years ago of cancer so he had to leave college to earn money to support his family and pay for the education of his younger brother and sister. He has worked at this ginning mill for the past 2 seasons (2 years) living in the accommodation provided at the mill as he lives in a village 17km away. His mother has 6 acres which he works on the rest of the year. Subhash says ‘the working conditions and accommodation are good at the mill plus Sunday is always a holiday’.
Parbathi Jagan Watodkar
Parbathi works in the Pala House (moisture management). She is 40 years of age and comes from Jamdo, a village 6km away. She has worked in the mill for 4 years. She prefers working at this gin as the owner of the mill is into social welfare and fair trading.
Kishore is 35 years old and comes from Midhapore, 70km from Kolkata. Kishore works as a factory chef and he loves the brand new factory environment, which is bright and clean. He describes the wages as good and says ‘it is the best place I have worked at.’
Shyamal works as general helper in the fabric and loading department. He has been working at the factory for 2 years and likes the people and the work. He is 47 years old and comes from a village 30km away.
Nabanita is a Senior Merchandiser working at the factory for 4 and half years. She is 26 years old and lives in Hoogly. She came to the factory as a junior merchandiser and has progressed to Senior merchandiser. She loves her job and is really into organic and Fairtrade. She has a real understanding of how the factory she works at is helping benefit the people who work there and throughout the supply chain. She says that her boss Rajat is very supportive! Nabanita recently had her first baby – congratulations!
Rajat is the man behind the factory and the visionary for the Fairtrade and organic supply chain he has developed. His support and determination has brought together an integrated transparent chain of stages the cotton goes through to become an ethical and sustainable product. Well done Rajat – you’re well and truly framed!