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Gollapalli Nampalli - Cotton on to Fair Trade Business

Organic Cotton Growing in India

Gollapalli Nampalli, 45, is an Indian farmer with five acres of land but due to a monsoon, unfortunately only three are cultivated. Gollapalli has one daughter, Rajita who is 20 and studying postgraduate Literature. She has a room with a family in the college town as the hostel is too expensive but goes home at the weekend to help with the cotton harvest. Rajita’s college fees are 5000 rupees per annum, she gets 300 rupees (£4) per month pocket money which she spends on her modest lifestyle.

Intercropping is where two or more crops are cultivated in the same space at the same time. Gollapalli’s sister, niece and their neighbour intercrop cotton with red gram, a type of lentil, marigold, a natural pesticide, and also ladyfinger and cluster beans. The small size of plants grown demonstrates the lack of fertilizer; either there is not enough manure available or it is too expensive.

For small families like Gollapalli’s there are often not enough family members to tend cattle which means they cannot generate sufficient amounts of manure necessary as a natural fertiliser for organic farming. As a result external labour is needed for weeding and manual pest control like the setting of 'sticky traps' or bird perches. Hired labour is expensive which is why family and friends are relied upon however this, unfortunately, does not always work out. 

Last year Gollapalli farmed four acres of cotton with a yield of 1000kg. There are forty-two Fairtrade cotton farmers in his village divided into four groups; Gollapalli’s group has eight members who all save 50 rupees per month (about 65p). They hope to expand their activity by organizing a milk collection; their group has sixteen animals with a total of 160 litres of milk per day, hopefully increasing their income.

Like all other groups in this district they benefit from a warehouse for the storage of cotton, which was built with support of a Fair Trade buyer. A new set of scales was also purchased for accurate weighing and they have plans to purchase a wide screen TV for group entertainment. 

A serious problem faced by the villagers is that the groundwater has too higher content of fluoride and many people in the area suffer from bone decay as a result. The group hope to buy a reverse osmosis plant for cheap sale of water to the surrounding village as an extra income opportunity. The group could not afford such investments without Fair Trade premiums.

Through our sourcing partners we pay a 15% premium on every shoe manufactured - which are made with cotton. This goes directly into Fair Trade schemes to help Gollapalli and families like his.

To support Gollapalli and other Fairtrade cotton farmers buy our trainers now

Check out our other Fair Trade stories or more information on Fair Trade.

Published 11/10/11

***UPDATE***

We are extremely excited to announce that a water plant to purify drinking water has been completed by the Shri Chaitanya MACs (Mutually Aided Cooperative Society) during May 2010. The plant aims to reduce the fluoride content of the drinking water which causes Osteoporosis in Repaka and nearby villages of Karimnagar district.

We are so happy to be part of this as currently 300 households use the plant regularly reducing their risk of Osteoporosis. 

 Added 02/11/11

Photo(s) ® M.Kunz Fair Deal Trading