Considering the indulgence of modern cotton production process into chemical fertilizers,genetically engineered seeds and the controversies around it, Naandi foundation's attempt to champion the cause of eco-friendly, Organic cotton is certainly a bold step that will be observed closely by all those connected with this business.
With the aim of promoting organic cotton cultivation and providing a better market linkage for the farmers in Wankedi region of Adilabad district, Naandi entered into partnership with AOFG India in the month of December 2007. Naandi Foundation is implementing the project by building capacities of 1,058 farmers in 50 villages covering 3,110 acres of organic cotton production land.
As a part of the project in Wankedi, Naandi held the first General Body Meeting on 21st May'2008. The participation of 1300 farmers from 63 villages in the meeting made it a gathering to be remembered forever.
Wankedi, a name which is not very familiar even to the smart Google search engine got highlighted by the press coverages it received from the local Andhra dailies. It was indeed an aheivement for the Naandi team to make such a gathering possible in its very first meeting in an otherwise, very remote and secluded place like Wankedi.
The main objective of the General Body Meeting was to throw light on issues such as Zameen (works with farming communities in India ) share holdings, 2008-09 Business plan,Fair trade Labelling Organizations International(FLO) expenditure details of 2006-07 and most significantly Organic farming activity plan of 2008-09and also on Naandi's activities with the farmers .
The meeting was attended by Mr. Gijs Spoor, CEO Zameen ;Mr Dileep Kumar, Manager AOFG organic certification ; Dr. Neena Rao , National Director – Livelihoods ,Naandi; Mr D V Rau , Project Manager -Lift Irrigation ,Naandi and local ZPTC member Mr Shyam Rao.
While speaking on the occasion Dr.Neena Rao urged the farmers to turn to organic farming by being part of Naandi's initiative. She explained that Naandi has been helping 50,000 small and marginal farmers to accrue additional income by creation of market linkages and farmer's cooperative societies across the country. Dr Rao, said, "Eventully(in the long run), organic farming practices will fetch more profits. She also shared Naandi's experiences with Araku coffee and pineapple cultivation in Nagaland.
Mr. Spoor announced the achievement of the farmers in the crop season of 2007-08 in terms of their profit margins and also offered them the proposal of investing into Zameen's ginning mill in which the farmers showed great interest.
Wankedi project-an attempt by Naandi to revitalise, infuse change and dynamism in Organic cotton production will surely be an agent of change