A fantastic idea!
Arjun Bisoi was so delighted when he saw his picture on a tub of Traidcraft coffee that he ran out of his home and into the village to show his neighbours.
"This is great. A fantastic idea!" he said, pointing to the photograph
The coffee farmer, who doesn’t know his age – 'around 55' – is just as enthusiastic about MACS and the benefits of being a member. The fair price he receives for his coffee has meant he can build a new house and also buy a motorcycle to transport vegetables to the local market.
"I used to sell to a local trader and got a very low price," he said. "The Naandi field officers used to come and teach us. I have been on different training and learned from this. Now I am preparing a different type of compost and put it around the soil and plants. I use different types of organic pesticides."
Arjun has five acres of land and grows coffee on two acres."Three acres are for paddy and vegetables – but it is not very fertile land so I don’t get a good crop. I grow cabbage, cauliflowers and leafy vegetables."
I could not build a house if I was selling to local traders
"I have two houses and I am building a new one," Arjun said. "My elder wife will live there. It is costing 40,000 rupees. This year I got 50,000 rupees from the coffee so I have saved something and spent something. I am building a house and keeping some money for day-to-day expenditure. I could not build a house if I was selling to local traders."
"Three months ago I bought my bike with money saved from past coffee payments," Arjun said. "I am so happy about constructing my house with the coffee money – along with buying my bike. I have purchased this bike because I am also growing some vegetables and I need to carry them to the local market. I used to walk and carry the vegetables on my shoulders for nine kilometres to sell them. It took me two hours. Now it takes half an hour."
"I want to purchase some more land. If I can buy more land I can grow cereals for my family to eat. I want to buy fertile land."
So why should people buy the coffee?
"Because it is organic coffee and it is grown by very poor farmers."
MACS Coffee Supplier Background
More than 5,700 tribal farmers are members of MACS and Traidcraft is their first Fairtrade buyer. The coffee project is a collaboration between the NGO Naandi Foundation and ITDA (Integrated Tribal Development Agency), which aims to improve incomes to coffee farmers through collective organisation, practise of organic farming techniques and marketing.
FLO certification was achieved in 2007. Clean water, healthcare and schools are among the long-term benefits being planned for these remote, tribal communities using the Fairtrade premium.