Moving to India was a big decision, but after a fine send off from my friends at the Fairtrade Foundation where I worked in the Press Office for almost two years, I was more than curious to see how Fairtrade works on the ground.

I’m joining Zameen at an exciting time, with new staff (including myself as Zameen’s first Communications Manager and a new Cotton General Manager role), brand new offices shared with AOFG (Zameen’s sister NGO) for closer working, and a new internship programme bringing in skills and talent from the Netherlands to Vietnam!  There’s also a total revamp of Zameen’s image underway, with a new logo and rebranding exercise.

My first few weeks have been non-stop!  Some of the highlights so far include meeting with TransFair USA to talk about the development of Fairtrade garment standards for the US market (currently no Fairtrade cotton is sold in the US) and travelling to Indore in North India to learn about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) from Organic Exchange. KPIs can help us demonstrate the social and environmental benefits of organic farming and also help the farmers track their progress and be aware of areas that need improvement.

I have also been to the field to take photos of the sowing season and met the newly elected members of the Producer Executive Body (PEB) in Hyderabad.  The PEB oversees investment of the Fairtrade premium money and they came together to learn book keeping skills and Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO) standards for certified farming organisations.


Newly elected farmer leaders learn about FLO standards

There’s lots more still ahead, with a website relaunch, media work and the farmers’ AGM in the pipeline – so watch this space!

Paul, Zameen Comms Manager