As the waters slowly recede, the true scale of the devastation is becoming known. For those caught up in the disaster, focus has now shifted to rebuilding buildings, businesses and lives.
Kerala is a vital source of a number of Fairtrade commodities including tea, spices and nuts. Across the whole region 5 million farmers have had their crops destroyed and their livelihoods ripped away from them.
Not only that, but the floods have destroyed roads and other vital infrastructure meaning getting aid to the worst affected areas is severely hampered. Many are unable to return to their homes because of the danger of landslides and so are unable to assess the damage.
It is impossible to comprehend what it must be like to have your entire life, literally, washed away in front of you. Members of the Fairtrade movement have added their assistance to the rescue and recovery efforts. Fairtrade licensees like Liberation Nuts are seeing how they can support the rebuilding process, Fair Trade Alliance Kerala is looking to provide advance payments from future harvests up front to ensure communities can get through this very challenging time. Fairtrade International has committed €80,000 to assist the rebuilding process.
These gestures alone however will not begin to compensate these farmers and their families for what they have been through and the thousands more who need help. NGOs, such as Oxfam, are coordinating emergency appeals – please do donate if you are able.
Thanks to the support of British shoppers, Fairtrade farmers in Kerala have toiled tirelessly to work their way out of poverty. These floods mean many will have to start again but Fairtrade will not abandon them. By buying Fairtrade products, such as Liberation cashew nuts available in Sainsbury’s and Tesco, you make a real difference to the lives of producers in Kerala and all over the world. The floods have taken a devastating toll on Fairtrade farmers but with our support they can, and will, bounce back.