The success of Suminter's model starts with forging strong relationships with local farmers. Suminter recruits farmers through local organizations and Suminter's own field officers. In some cases, farmers find Suminter through word-of-mouth in their communities. Once a farmer has decided to participate in Suminter's training and certification program, he or she has the option to sell organic crops to Suminter for an organic premium or alternatively in the local markets at conventional prices.
Suminter does not provide direct financial assistance to the farmers; however, we do provide quality inputs, including organic seeds, bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides, to encourage organic farming practices, increase farm yields and maintain high standards of the final product.
The process of converting to a certified organic farm is a three year process. Suminter works with the farmers during this period to impart training in organic farming techniques and assist the farmer in selling the interim crops in the conventional and Fair Trade markets. In doing so, Suminter upholds its promise to pay the farmers a fair price for their goods and the farmers benefit from Suminter's broad market exposure.
Once a farm is certified organic, its goods can be sold at organic premium prices in the marketplace. As of March 2014, Suminter had certified over 20,000 farmers, and is in the process of certifying more.
Maintaining the high quality of products that our customers have come to expect is of the utmost importance to us. In order to do so, we maintain a relationship with our farmers throughout the growing season, offering access to new knowledge of organic processes and ensuring that crops are grown in compliance with organic standards. Through its more than 85 field officers, Suminter visits each farm twice a month and more if circumstances require it. In addition, our project supervisor personally visits each farmer once per cropping season to verify the efficiency of our internal control system. We take an active role in determining what type of seeds are planted, which organic techniques will be used in which fields, which bio-pesticides will be used and other critical decisions that may affect the quality of our product.
PROCESSING and PACKAGING
Crops that require processing are sent upon harvest to processing plants that have been certified according to international organic standards. These plants process and package the produce according to Suminter's specifications, and then send them to Suminter's ware houses, located in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Suminter has developed various in-house processes and has partnered with leading global companies to bring the latest processing technologies into the organic food arena. For a more detailed discussion of our processing and packaging facilities, please visit our Processing Facilities page
QUALITY CONTROL and TRACEABILITY
Since quality is the cornerstone of our business, we batch test frequently in order to ensure that the products we procure are of the highest standard. We test all products that we procure from new producers and do random test samples of products from our existing supplier base. Additionally, we track where we procured each of our orders, so when a customer has a question about the source of a product, the origin of each product can be traced.
SALES and DISTRIBUTION
The step that ultimately bridges the gap between Indian farmers and global consumers is Suminter's ability to sell its products to retailers and manufacturers in the international market. Our sales representatives ensure that orders are dispatched promptly and accurately, exporting goods from our warehouses in India and the Netherlands to our customers around the world.