Annually, Westmill visits its key spice sourcing regions in India to assess factory and wider supply chain risks. The top of the spice supply chain is compromised by many smallholder farmers who often face poverty and diminishing returns from their crops due to excessive agrochemical use deteriorating the soil health and in many cases depleting water resources. This in turn threatens long term supply and the livelihoods of the growers.
Over the years we have carefully selected and developed long term partnerships with our spice suppliers in India. Our suppliers have developed Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programmes to control agrochemical use in their backward supply chains to ensure that our Rajah spice range is of a premium quality for our consumers. However we realise that addressing the systemic challenges facing smallholders needs collaborative action which is why we have begun partnering with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA).
For over 4 decades, SEWA has been working to improve the livelihoods of its 2 million rural members, the majority of which are small and marginal cultivators, and landless agricultural labourers. The Westmill – SEWA partnership has been set up to empower 2,400 female cumin farmers in Gujarat, India and in doing so create sustainable livelihoods for all beneficiaries. By implementing technical and financial training in combination with the provision of a reliable, fair market access, the goal is for the women to become self-reliant and realise their full potential whilst increasing their resilience to the negative effects of changing weather patterns.