Fairtrade farmers recovering from Kerala floods

Farmer in Kerala Floods

The fertile cropping lands of Kerala, in southern India, have been hit by the worst monsoonal flooding in nearly a century, leaving almost 400 people dead.

More than one million people have been forced from their homes.

The Fairtrade family has seen many of its own affected, with around 14,000 Fairtrade farmers and 9,000 plantation workers facing displacement or homelessness, destroyed crops, and the loss of schools or other infrastructure.

Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand CEO Molly Harriss Olson said she has been receiving regular updates from Fairtrade colleagues in the region during the floods and their aftermath.  

“Monsoon season always has the potential to bring devastation with it, and like so many others I’ve watched nature cause so much damage to those who can least afford it. In the emergency phase, our colleagues in the Network of Asia and Pacific Producers (NAPP) were on the ground providing immediate support,” Ms Harriss Olson said.

Coffee and cocoa crops have been devastated, and a tea consortium in Idukki has also been hit by the floods. NAPP has been working to deliver aid to their colleagues, including food, clothes, medicines and emergency kits of water and essential goods.

“Over the coming days, weeks and months we will be doing what we can to support farmers and their families as they rebuild, but there is something important you can do to help, which is buying coffee, cocoa and tea carrying the Fairtrade Mark when you shop.”

The state’s monsoon rains started in June, but flooding has only just peaked and begun to recede from the area’s 44 rivers more than two months later, and the week starting August 10 saw more than 400mm of rainfall.

The flooding triggered landslides, damaging roads and bridges and hampering the rescue efforts now underway to help the people of the region try to put their lives – and livelihoods – back together.

Purchasing groceries with the Fairtrade Mark can help support farmers in developing countries build better futures by providing stable prices and the ability to invest in their communities.