Fair Cotton Cooperative Alliance
FCCA or Fair Cotton Cooperative Alliance, is an alliance of co-ops and social businesses in southern India, including Kudumbashree. It produces a range of fair trade cotton products for the ethically conscious consumer, and in the process aims to improve the quality and life of its small farmers and workers.
Kerala Crafts is supporting the FCCA by initially introducing a range of their kitchenware, namely oven gloves, tea cloths and aprons. They are made from the famous Kerala handloom, and each product carries the handloom symbol.
Kerala is renowned for its handloom fabric, and has a great tradition of textiles, enriched throughout the centuries. Kerala is a region where, even now, hand woven products are known for their durability, finishing, vibrant colours and smoothness. It is due to its inimitable quality that gives it the virtual monopoly edge in the USA, UK, Japan and European countries, and whose products are used in The White House, USA today. However, in spite of this, the handloom industry faces a crisis initiated from competition by the power looms, low remuneration, high price of raw materials, lack of working capital and proper sales strategy, combined with an acute shortage of labour. 1 out of 12 households earns a living from the weaving trade.
The vulnerable weavers have not been able to weather the hostile climate brought on by the aggressive push towards globalization. In the National Handloom Census of 2009-10, the ongoing crisis in the weaving trade has pushed 60% of workers below the poverty line. Their plight is brought into focus by the desperation from declining incomes and quality of life for farmers and workers, resulting in tragic consequences, with many suicides (Kerala's suicide rate is 12 times the national average).
In the light of this and to try and address these issues and help maintain the unique traditions of the industry, the Fair Cotton Cooperative Alliance has been set up in Kerala, southern India. This was formed in response to the need of strengthening the co-operatives in the textile sector, which have been struggling against such competition from established private players. In spite of producing high quality products, the co-operatives were not able to get adequate access to remunerative markets, keep pace with changing fashion trends or introduce modern management systems in their organisations.
FCCA envisions a sustainable, gender equal and development-orientated production throughout the cotton textile value chain. It strives to achieve this vision while adhering to the following values:
* solidarity, cooperation and community orientation
* gender equality
* transparency and integrity
* sustainability (financial, social & environmental)