To the farmers with whom we work, Suminter pays a premium for the farmer's organic crops, the quality and consistency of which Suminter monitors throughout the growing period. Prices for organic goods average 10-15% higher than those for conventional goods and so Suminter guarantees to its farmers purchase of each crop at the organic market price, allowing them to earn a profit on their production. By guaranteeing a premium price to the farmers, Suminter is helping these farmers to gain economic stability.

Some of the projects that Suminter has successfully executed are -

PROJECT PASHUDHAN - Since time immemorial, Livestock Rearing has been a key element in Indian Society. In fact, domestication of animals is still regarded as one of the key achievements of humanity. Whether for milch purpose or draught purpose, livestock rearing has been integral to our society and has strengthened and stabilized economy of rural households. However, this integral element of our society is not risk proof. Outbreak of diseases and huge casualties are not uncommon. Communities around our area of operation are not excluded from the risk. The ramifications for a rural household are huge.

Thus with the objective of minimizing the risk Project Pashudhan was designed and conceived by Suminter. The components of the project were -

  • Immunization against Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)
  • Immunization against Hemorrhagic Septicemia (HS)
  • Deworming
  • Treatment of infertile bovine animals
  • Counseling of livestock owners on nutritional planning for livestock
  • General Treatment

The project reached out to nearly 2000 farmers in 20 villages. A major achievement of the project has been significant decline in ailments and zero casualties amongst livestock in the covered villages.

Promotion of Vermicompost - With the objective of effective utilization of household organic waste and cattle dung, the intervention of promoting vermicomposting was taken up by Suminter. The slow release of nutrients by the compost ensures prolonged availability and minimal drainage. Further, vermicompost being colloids has extraordinary water retention capacity – something badly needed in our farm land.

Suminter is assisting farmers with 100% free of cost construction of vermicompost pits. While farmer’s contribution is towards labor all other requirement is met by Suminter. In the first phase 30 farmers are being benefited with an outlay of Rs.5,00,000/-. Apart from the construction, training on compost production is also imparted.

Subsidy for purchase of farm implements - Subsidy of 25% of product cost is extended by Suminter to farmers for purchase of small farm implements individually and larger ones in groups. Till date Suminter has benefited 57 farmers under the intervention. Equipment purchased by farmers includes tarpaulin, tilling machines, spray pumps, etc.

Capacity Building - Suminter identifies itself as an enabler with the rural communities. We focus on identifying obstacles that hinders communities to meet their developmental ambitions and enhance such skills that are required to overcome such obstacles. Suminter, therefore, employs significant portion of its energy towards capacity building of member farmers. Regular training on organic farm practices, welfare schemes, women’s participation, etc. are regular interventions. Further participation in Krishi Mela, Exposure Tour, Learning activity at Agriculture University, etc. are also organized with the objective of enabling farmers learn and replicate successful models.

Spices Fairtrade Project, Kerala - Suminter Organic Farmers consortium is quietly doing some interesting Fairtrade Premium projects. Producers are growing a multitude of crops like spices, Coffee, tapioca, banana, vegetables on their typically 5-6 acre farms, all in the pristine hill district of Idukki.

The project is Fairtrade certified since 2011, these small-scale organic farmers received 5.4 m INR (around 67,000 euros) in Fairtrade Premium in 2013-14, a handsome amount for a group of 250 members. Water harvesting structures, solar panels, drying net for spices, drying and grading equipment for cardamom, distribution of organic inputs, good quality planting material are just some of premium utilization projects for socio economical development of the producers.

One of the members, has installed a 36,000 litre rainwater tank. He has been able to irrigate his land many times using it, and believes other members can protect themselves against climate change by following his example.

Farmer in front of his rainwater tank

About 45 members have installed solar panels to capture the abundant sunshine; some can run their irrigation pumps entirely on solar power as a result.

Farmers are now able to supplement their income through a new cardamom dryer (pictured above). All members can use for a small charge. The wood-based dryer gives the cardamom a green colour, which is looked upon favorably by the market.

The farmers themselves decided on these projects, investing their own funds and using the Fairtrade Premium to supplement them (by around 20% on average).

Nearly 80% of their produce is sold on Fairtrade terms. No wonder these farmers seem such a happy lot!