- The first activity is the training and support for the production of certified seeds by the farmers. The company procures these seeds from the farmers and sells the seeds both to members and non-members.
- The second activity is the organization of a supply system to meet various seed requirements of the members. For this purpose seeds are procured both from the member farmers who are producing certified seeds (mentioned above) as well as other sources.
Organising the production of certified seeds
The support of organic seed production involves a series of steps. CIKS expertise was used to train and assist the farmers on these necessary steps. The steps are summarized below:
- Selecting farmers whose fields are already organic certified
- Registering the farmer’s land with the seed certification department
- Sowing of the seeds
- Send the seed sowing report to seed department
- Maintenance of the field according to seed production standards specified by the seed department
- Fertilization, weeding and pest control measures to following organic certification standards
- Allowing and assisting inspections by seed department (once or twice per season)
- After approval from seed department harvesting seeds
- Send seeds for processing and tagging to the seed department
- Once the seeds are returned to the farmer organizing sales
- The producer company is in charge of selling the seeds.
Seed supply system for members : Nature and size of the current operation
This is the activity that has the largest patronage in terms of the number of members annually participating. Of the 4000 members, over 2000 members buy their seeds from the company every season. This is because of several reasons including
- A price difference that the company is able to maintain with the local seeds market.
- The seeds market is notorious for its suspect quality. Thus, the company has put in place a quality assurance system to ensure that only quality seeds are purchased for its members. This has made Marutham a trusted name in the region for its seeds, which ensures repeat customers.
- They deal with a variety of seeds - paddy, groundnut and pulses. In particular, they also promote some indigenous varieties of paddy such as Seeraga Samba, Mappilai Samba, Pisini, etc. These varieties have been disappearing from the farmer’s fields. The company has been reviving and promoting these varieties – being the only seller of such varieties in the region.