The Inaugural Session
The inaugural session began with Rahul Saridena, associate member FTF-I, inviting all distinguished guests on to the dais. He welcomed and introduced Chief Guest, Mr. Muralidhar Rao, National General Secretary, BJP; Mr. Chandramouli, Chairman, Khadi and Village Industries Commission(KVIC), Mr. Jaikant Singh – NSDC; Ms. Rupa Mehta, WFTO and Mr, Chitra KC, WFTO Asia.
Pradeep Krishnappa, Vice –President FTF-I, invited the dignitaries to inaugurate the National Convention by lighting the lamp.
The launch of MyRoots.desi and the website for WFTO Biennial Global Conference in 2017.
Mr. Pradeep Krishnappa spoke about the importance of digitalisation in today’s world and invited Sreerekha, Co-Founder Myroots.desi to the dais. Sreerekha introduced her e-portal Myroots.desi that connects desi products and the artisans to the consumers. An MoU was signed between FTF-I (represented by Ms. Meenu Chopra) and “MyRoots.desi” (represented by Sreerekha Madivala) to promote Fair Trade products using digital marketing. Mr. Muralidhar Rao launched the portal. Pradeep saw this as a good opportunity for the Fair Trade network to get into e-commerce.
Pradeep further said that FTf-I will be co-organising 14th Biennial Global Conference in November 2017. The teaser video for the Conference was launched .Roopa Mehta, board member WFTO launched an exclusive website for the Global Conference and spoke about the Global Conference. She said that we are at a stage where relevance of Fair Trade in sustainable development is being organised. The event is expected to attract good number of participants from 70 countries across the globe. The Conference will see a convergence with the organic world through Organic World Conference and the launch of fair Trade Charter. The Conference will be very relevant not only for fair Trade producers, buyers and supporters but also for a lot more people.
Mr Chitra K C, Head, President WFTO Asia briefed the audience about WFTO Asia and said that it is one of the key regional bodies with office in Thailand and it accounts for 144 members from Asia (out of 400 in the global body). He also talked about the lobbying that was needed to bring the Guarantee system across 19 countries. WFTO employs 75000 producers in 19 countries with 150million euros annual turnover. The Guarantee system ensures that you are really following the 10 principles.
Mr Mallikarjun Iytha, President- FTf-I, delivered his address and informed the delegates about the organisation’s new initiatives into policy and advocacy that will see collaboration with Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE). He also introduced the chief guest Mr Muralidhar Rao by describing his contribution to building the Swadeshi Movement in India and dedication to crafts, weavers and others in unorganized sector. He encouraged the audience to take social impact stories forward and discuss with the policy makers so that they know about the sacrifices from the members in building the ecosystem. He also said that event is dedicated to collaboration, partnerships and action plans as November is observed the Fair Trade month and next year, Delhi would be declared as the Fair Trade capital of the world.
Mr. Chandramouli – Chairman, KVIC deliberated on possible collaboration between KVIC and FTF-I. He felt that the collaboration would be mutually beneficial and spoke about the partnership and action plan for skill development of Khadi weavers for poverty alleviation and dignified living. Following are the other key points from his talk:
- KVIC runs parallel with FTF-I and there is a need for skill development for capacity building
- Some of the training programs at KVIC include pottery, bee keeping, natural colours, carving from a list of 14 skills
- Khadi also needs infrastructural support, technology and marketing for a competitive business model.
- The cluster programs had liberalised the system and simplified the procedures; there is a need to create more opportunities in taking KVIC to global standards
Mr. Muralidhar Rao, National General Secretary, BJP spoke about how trades are linked to our lifestyle and products are based on our needs. This is in turn based on taste and perception, this is related to values for which you live, this discipline will create a habit for the product. Hence fair trade cannot disconnect with lifestyle; these products have a history and have a philosophical base that needs to be revived. Advocating the use of ‘desi’ or ethnic products and lifestyle, he shared several inspiring points. To quote some of them:
- Don’t confine FTF to selling commodities and products; FTF must represent philosophy of the product and create a market
- Historically, India society has been diverse and intellectually rich; now we’ve the poverty of imagination, we need to recapture the richness and spirit to establish our cultural superiority
- Skills ancient knowledge traditions should be recognized formally; this will make Indian development story complete
- Incorporate the indigenous creativity in planning process ; this should become mainstream we must have universities for artisans to create intellectual assets
- One has to live for the change we believe in and not just propagate it, hence we have to live the lifestyle to promote it
Mr. Jaikant Singh – NSDC invited FTI-I members to collaborate with NSDC to promote sustainability and reach the right target segment by making artisans a part of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program. He stressed on the fact that at present only 0.9% of Indians are into entrepreneurship how FTF-I can bring in more women entrepreneurs and scale up the GDP.