News & Media

ZAMEEN: Bringing an Agricultural Revolution

We have all read and heard about farmer suicides, pesticides in food and issues of child labour. Here is an organization that is working towards the eradication of all of these – Zameen.

Zameen is a unique farmer owned organic cotton trading company working to improve market access for marginalized farmers in India through certification, supply chain partnerships and organizational development.

Cotton farmers in India do not receive a fair price for their produce which leads them to usurious money lenders. Huge debt and inability to support their families leaves suicide as the only dignified option. In the Amravati district of Maharashtra, 5000 farmers commit suicide every year and that is an alarming statistic.

Zameen believes in the ‘trade, not aid’ approach to rural development. Farmers invest their own capital in Zameen and are completely engaged in the process. Zameen has a tie up with AOFG (Agriculture and Organic Farming Group), a non-profit organization, to facilitate the development of independent, legally registered farmer cluster associations that are self managed and are able to sell organic cotton as per strict international standards.

Infamously referred to as ‘dirty cotton’, the commodity accounts for 16% of global insecticide use which is far more than any other crop. Agro-chemicals contaminate local water supplies, degrade soil quality and harm wildlife. Farming communities also face an increased risk of various diseases like cancer. Zameen trains farmers in organic farming which has resulted in drastic improvement in soil fertility and farmers’ health.

As a Fairtrade certified organisation, Zameen farmers are no longer subjected to widespread speculation and fluctuation in market prices. Fairtrade guarantees a minimum price which covers sustainable farming and living conditions. Additionally, a social premium is earned by the farmer community and that premium is democratically invested in community development projects. So far, Zameen’s farmers have invested in wells, their children’s education and ofcourse into their own businesses.

Fairtrade prohibits child labour and encourages movement towards gender equality. Zameen farmers have access to international markets and being organized into an association gives them a stronger collection voice.

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