Thursday, February 17, 2011



As a fashion company we want to continue to collaborate with and support the entire Indigenous brand value chain.

I have been inspired by the work of others in Organic Cotton farming. We endeavor to bring fair trade certifications deeper into the Indigenous supply chain.

It’s not an easy task to undertake, but with great partners and projects like the one described below we will all continue to make process towards fair trade certifications in the apparel industry.

Back in August 2010 Indigenous and its Organic Cotton supply partners started to evaluate the possibility of running a Fair Trade certified Organic Cotton pilot program with some of our organic farmers in the coastal valleys of Peru. Indigenous is financially supporting a portion of this work … the real heroes are the people on the ground making it happen. ( Thank you Orlando!! J )

Five of our best farmers in the Chincha Valley were selected for this pilot. All of them own an average area of 5 hectares and have been growing organic cotton for more than 10 years.

At the beginning the farmers were reluctant to gather together for this project, as Peruvian farmers are frequently made false promises by outside corporations. Based on our history working with them they decided to take part in the pilot.

Social Project

One of the main items under discussion during several meetings held was how a Fair Trade premium would be applied, once the certification was obtained. Complexity arose from the fact that these farmers don´t live in a community, they live and work on their farmland with their families.

Based on information from Fair Trade projects in Asia there was a suggestion for a self sustainable project which can not only increase the productivity of their harvests, but also work as business in the future. They all decided to use future proceeds to create a common Biol (Organic foliar fertilizer) production and storage room.

Through the program cylinders have been purchased to store the product. All of the supplies needed to start Biol Production (fish guts, milk, eggs, guano, molasses, etc) were also purchased. One of the farmers donated a piece of land close to his house, so they can build a small storage room in there and safe keep the Biol. Orlando provided construction materials and together with their families they built a small storage room.

The next step was to produce other natural fertilizers that would be required in organic agriculture. In November 2010, bins were requested and provided to start producing humus.

We believe that there is a lot of potential in what has been achieved so far with this group of farmers, and that the program could be expanded in the near future.

We are seeing a tremendous impact in the life of these farmers, and it is not solely economic. They feel that they are part of something bigger and believe that the could not only make a business but help other farmers by sharing their best practices in organic agriculture.

Where we stand

These farmers organized themselves in less than half a year. They
have created a business plan aimed at expanding their organic model. They envision not only producing Biol and Humus for themselves, but for all the organic farmers in their valley. To accomplish this they need to double their production. Orlando will continue to help them by selling Biol and Humus to other organic farmers involved in our organic cotton production. Proceeds from these sales will go to the farmers fund to be used as they see fit.

If this project works they will incorporate new farmers into this group and expand the model to different agricultural valleys in Peru. Indigenous is hopeful in continue its support of this wonderful project.

Good thoughts,

Scott Leonard

Chief Executive Officer

Indigenous Designs Corporation