by Tomy Mathew Vadakkancheril, Chair of the Fair Trade Alliance Kerala
This year’s annual gathering of Seed Fest 2017 (22-26 January) hosted by the Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK) – Liberation’s cashew producer and shareholder – will be a focused effort geared to displaying, exchanging and preserving a wide and colourful selection of seeds, planting material, indigenous livestock, medicinal plants as well as indigenous and wild trees. Created as a platform to share experiences and knowledge related to the preservation and propagation of indigenous seeds, the festival gives FTAK a vital voice to demonstrate their innovative way of farming which is small scale, market-embracing and sustainable.
Kerala, located in the Western Ghats, is one of the most bio diverse areas in the world and can suffer from severe drought and failing monsoons. Because of its unpredictable and volatile weather, FTAK’s primary focus is on protecting the crop and biodiversity of the region, ensuring the food security of farming families and reasserting the central role of women in the management of the homestead farming economy.
What’s more, we are equally excited to learn that the Special Focus for this year is Entrepreneurship and Farming Women with guest appearances from inspirational women including Revathy, Dr.Khadeeja Mumtaz, Ranjini Krishnan, Seema Bhaskar and Rosy Thampy who will each take to the stage on 24th January at Seed Fest.
2017 is certainly shaping up as ‘the year’ that is recognising (and celebrating) women’s empowerment to include Divine’s focus on Women Farmer’s Empowerment as a key theme and, of course, Liberation’s continued support for equality.