At the beginning of the year, Liberation made a donation to the Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK) in India to help rebuild rural communities after devastating floods last summer. The donation was only possible because of our supportive, loyal and generous customers. Six weeks later, we take a look at the progress made so far.
The fund was initially used for immediate flood relief such as giving cash to families in relief camps, clearing accumulated debris from houses and supplying pipelines for drinking water. All FTAK members in the Sugandhagri district of Kerala now have clean water reaching their homes.
FTAK’s annual seed festival took place in January and was the formal launch of the campaign to rebuild the community. The theme for this year’s festival was ‘Seeds of Survival’. The event was an opportunity for farmers to buy seeds and farming materials.
FTAK encourages farmers to grow native crops and have a wide variety of plants on their farms. This is to help to keep soil rich with nutrients and protect against climate change. To help promote these ideas, there were workshops on climate resilient agriculture and flood relief measures at the festival.
A bee keeping workshop was the most popular event. The session explored honey extraction methods and attendees took live beehives home. Bees are the most important pollinator of food crops, so creating an environment where they will flourish will help to increase farmers’ yields.
FTAK donated 10% of the seeds from the seed festival to people worst hit by the floods. More saplings will be distributed just before the planting season in Kerala later this year.
For some of the farmers it will take years to rebuild their farms. Some activities to support FTAK members will continue throughout the year such as soil restoration and group farming projects. Liberation is committed to working with FTAK and will continue to buy the premium quality cashew nuts.