Aharam Traditional Crops Producers’ Company works with socially marginalized rural producers to conserve biodiversity in the semi-arid Ramnad Plains of Tamil Nadu state. The initiative uses a producer group model focused on women and landless labourers to promote organic farming practices that improve crop diversity and agro-biodiversity. The group’s work has aimed at reducing dependence on cotton cultivation by increasing the commercial viability of farming small-scale crops and harvesting medicinal plants. The company is able to add value to these processes through supply chain management and secondary processing, thereby guaranteeing a fair price for organically-certified commodities bought in bulk directly from producer groups.
As well as supplying training in organic farming practices, the initiative has encouraged the formation of savings and micro-credit self-help groups, as well as supporting fledgling micro-enterprises.