Sunstar Group of Organic Farmers are based in Kaithal, Haryana. The group has been a Fairtrade certified organisation since 2006 and they have been working with Sunstar Overseas Pvt. Ltd. for gaining access to domestic and international markets on fairer terms.
The producer group is organised into 12 village clubs, each of which has a President, treasurer and secretary. There is also a Producers Executive Body (PEB), also made up of President, secretary and treasurer and elected by the members every three years. The PEB meets every month.
The representatives from the village clubs visit members regularly to discuss problems and to distribute seeds and other farming requirements.
The farmers mainly plant two crops annually: rice and wheat.
The development officer gives the farmers training and assists them in their farming practices.
Labour is a bit of a problem and farmers face difficultly getting workers during the peak seasons (harvesting, threshing and transplanting). Transplanting is done by hand for the rice crop in order to preserve the quality, otherwise there is a high risk of the grain being broken/ damaged.
Fairtrade has enabled the farmers to invest in agricultural production, such as water pumps to improve irrigation or laser levelling, which helps to flatten the ground for cultivation, and to improve water supply. They’ve also used the premium to build access roads for better transport to market.
This producer group is committed to organic production, so the Fairtrade Premium has been used to collaborate and produce organic inputs that the farmers require. The Fairtrade Premium has also been used for buying other agricultural implements which help the farmers improve their productivity. The Fairtrade Premium has also been used to support farmers to attend exhibitions or other meetings.
There are great social benefits that the Fairtrade Premium has provided, including enabling free health check-ups in all villages, and in the Naard village, the premium was used to establish a computer centre for girls in the area, where a teacher paid for by the Fairtrade Premium, teaches them computer usage in both Hindi and English.