Whilst many of us have been enjoying unseasonably warm weather across the UK that has seen daffodils blooming as far north as Ayr and temperatures in double figures, our colleagues in Kerala are celebrating abundant, smallholder grown produce in the sultry heat of India’s Western Ghats as part of Seed Fest Week.
At the annual gathering attended by the Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK) – Liberation’s cashew producers and shareholders – both women and men stand proudly alongside their produce including deep purple coloured runner beans, an array of 26 varieties of chillies and, of course, cashew nuts!
WHAT THIS SAYS TO US
This celebration of seeds and biodiversity champions the fact that this way of farming is abundant, resilient and most importantly, smallholder led.
The Western Ghats, one of the most bio diverse areas in the world, is like a walk through a proverbial garden of Eden. Unlike other regions of India that are arid and can suffer from severe drought and failing monsoons, the Western Ghats can grow staples that are prized worldwide, mainly spices, but also cashew nuts, coffee, and rubber.
What’s also great about Seed Fest Week is that it gives FTAK a voice – a platform to demonstrate their innovative way of farming which is small scale, market-embracing and sustainable.
FTAK’s primary focus now 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.