Fair Trade Alliance Kerala (FTAK), a Kannur-based cluster of organic farmers, plans to increase its member farmers from the current 4,500 to 10,000, and the total area of land under organic farming to 30,000 acres from the current 12,000 by the end of the next year. Additional farming will locate mainly in the northern districts like Kannur, Kasargode and Kozhikode. Elements Homestead Products (EHP), the company that processes and distributes products of FTAK, today launched its products in central Kerala. The company distributes virgin coconut oil, coconut oil, cashew nuts and filter coffee. Tomy Mathew, managing director of EHP, said its retail outlets would be increased to 2,000 across the state during the Onam season. The company sells organic products through 250 outlets.
It has already opened distribution hubs in Kozhikode and Kochi, and will be opening new ones in Kottayam and Thiruvananthapuram to cater to the southern districts. It is targeting annual sales of Rs 6 crore in the first phase. The company has plans to reach out to all districts in Kerala and will move to other states in the south later. The launching ceremony at Cafe Papaya here, was attended by Balz Strasser, CEO, Swissnex India and Consul General Designate of Switzerland and TK Jose, chairman of Coconut Development Board, among others. The Indian middle-class is a market of 300 million in numbers, as large as the total population of Europe. There is an increasing awareness among them not just about the health impacts of pesticides and chemicals in food but also about the conditions of farmers who face tremendous odds, in producing the products. Also, against a market price of Rs 65 per kg of raw cashew nuts, FTAK farmers receive Rs 95.