Fair Trade and organic initiatives confronted with Bt cotton in Andhra Pradesh, India: A paradox
By Rie Makita
This paper explores a confluence of Fair Trade and organic initiatives under the prevalence of Bt cotton in India, using as an interpretative framework Guthman�s conventionalization thesis for organic farming in the Northern context. In a case study conducted in Andhra Pradesh, the confluence of the two initiatives, contrary to their ethical standards, contributed to the spread of genetically modified (GM) seed. The Fair Trade initiative, lacking a scheme for compensating for the decrease in income that producers have to endure during the conversion period, tends to take a more relaxed attitude toward GM crops in order to assist small farmers. Fair Trade�s dilemma between helping poor farmers and promoting organic farming may have indirectly allowed Fair Trade producers to tend towards conventional farming with Bt seeds. As a result, the confluence of the two initiatives has not intensified the organic concept as �an alternative accumulation strategy for agrarian capitalism,� but neither has it released disadvantaged Southern farmers from agrarian capitalism. Rather, it has led farmers into another form of agrarian capitalism.