Wednesday 23 January 2013

Part 3: Solutions; Chapter 1: The Foundation

In the final quarter of 2012, we publicly announced a major shift in our sourcing policy. Specifically, we decided to source 100% of our organic cotton from India’s Morarka Organic. This entity is backed by the Morarka Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the lives of Indian farmers through organic agriculture.

The Foundation was set up in 1994 by Mr. Kamal Morarka, one of India’s leading philanthropists. Since day one of its establishment, its aim has been to create wealth for India’s communities “through innovations in resource management and capacity building.”

Mr Kamal Morarka, front row, to the lady's left
The Foundation is known for its cutting-edge work in the following areas:

Research and development of vermiculture (i.e. composting using earthworms)

  • It collaborated with local farmers and invented the windrows method of vermiculture. This method is now utilised in over 90% of the world’s production of vermiculture.
  • It has also succeeded in increasing the nutrients in vermiculture, thereby reducing the cost of applications (per hectare of land) and making vermiculture one of the most economically viable organic inputs in the world.
Production of vermiculture

  • It runs the single largest vermiculture production programme in the world, boasting an annual production capacity of 7 million metric tonnes of vermicast.

Vermiculture: Composting using earthworms
Development of probiotics for fertility and pest management in agriculture

  • It was the first to identify, isolate and extract primary and secondary plant metabolites from over 30 agriculture products; these metabolites are then used as on-farm fertility and pest management inputs.

Not surprisingly, the Foundation is widely recognised as a thought leader in sustainable agriculture.

Moreover, all its know-how is worth money. The Foundation is, however, strongly against the patenting of its technologies. Its stance: they are for the common good and must be shared. Hence, these technologies remain open-source and anyone can use them. In fact, the Foundation actively disseminates these technologies to the Indian farming community and others.

Additionally, the Foundation acquires the community’s organic produce through Morarka Organic using Fair Trade prices, principles and practices. In other words, it is an organization that doesn’t leave the farmers hanging.

Today, the Foundation is helping to improve the lives of approximately 250,000 farming families in 15 Indian states—this is possibly the world’s single largest organic agriculture development and support programme. Nukleus hopes to increase this number significantly through its collaboration with Morarka Organic. We also hope that you will support the farmers by buying and wearing organic cotton. The more organic cotton we use, the more farmers we can persuade to switch to organic farming.

Beneficiaries of the Foundation's programme

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