The demand for sustainably produced farm products such as cotton and coffee among others are on the rise in the Indian market on growing consumer awareness and push by the ready-to-eat food and fashion brands, certification company Fairtrade International has said.

The sales of Fairtrade labelled products have doubled to around ₹24 crore during 2022 over the previous year on rising consumer awareness, especially in the urban market, said Abhishek Jani, CEO, Fairtrade India Projects.

The sales figures of Fairtrade labelled products for 2023, which were higher than the previous year, are still being finalised, he said.

Also, the exports of Fairtrade-certified products such as tea, coffee, rice, spices, fruits and vegetables including grapes, baby corn, gherkins, raisins, mango pulp and cotton as value-added products as bed linen and towels are on the rise, Jani said. The premium commanded on Fairtrade-certified exports stood at around ₹40 crore on an annual basis and is growing, he said.

Fairtrade works on unlocking the power of producer collectives helping marginal and small farmers and workers to get organised. It has been working with Indian farmers in the areas of capacity building, providing certification and creating market linkages.

Working with FPOs

“We partner with businesses to enable domestic and international market access for these producers,” Jani said. Fairtrade has been working with some 112 farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and over 1.4 lakh farmers and workers. Another 10-15 farmer groups including those focussed on coffee and cotton among others are in the process of being certified, Jani said.

The price that farmers collectives are getting is at least 5-15 per cent higher for the Fairtrade-certified produce than market price. “The market for traditional Fairtrade products continues to be strong. Lot of tea, coconut oil, spices from Kerala and also cocoa in sold in the Indian market,” Jani said adding that millets is relatively an under-developed category where strong growth is seen in super grains like Quinoa.

Fairtrade establishes sustainable and equitable trading relationships with minimum support price to farmers and social investment in producer communities. Fairtrade helps in capacity building and empowering farmers and workers in the area of climate change response, increasing women’s participation in decision making commercial and technical training, he said.