QOM Tribe

Community Development

Qom Tribe is a FairTSA Fair Trade certified cotton producer based in Argentina. They are comprised of 30 families belonging to the indigenous Qom People who reside in the Northern, Chaco valley region. Practicing methods of biodynamic agriculture, the Qom produce cotton which is fully organic and sustainably grown using non-chemical inputs such as rainwater and natural fertilizer. Since 2017 they have been working with Stay True Organic Clothing and FairTSA on yearly community development projects that look to provide long term benefit to their rural communities.

Brief History of  Qom

The indigenous Qom, or Toba, people took on cotton cultivation in the 1960ʼs as a sustainable survival tactic to deal with the mass deforestation of the Chaco Valley. When the cotton industry was taken over by mechanized harvesting techniques in the 1990’s, however, a majority of Argentina’s 130,000 Qom population living in Chaco became unemployed, impoverished, and vulnerable to government-motivated urban relocation. In response, indigenous activists developed the "Movimiento Nacional Campesino Indígena" – a political movement that highlighted indigenous rights and challenged Argentina’s expropriative land practices. Recently, after many years of protests, the Qom have finally began to receive reparative land-protections, as well as infrastructural investment funding for the construction of schoolhouses and public hospitals. 

Left: Qom flag representing the changing seasons in Chaco

Left: Stirring of biodynamic preparation 501 (Horn Silica) to stimulate and regulate plant growth and strengthen the crops against diseases. 

2017-2018 Project Overview

Projects for Qom Tribe create financial independence for indigenous Qom cotton producers. As with many early programs, producers look to address basic concerns in their community such as sanitation and medical needs. Later, as these needs are met, infrastructural development such as schools or other buildings can be completed. Stay True has also provided non GMO seeds and training in organic cotton cultivation. Producing such cotton, which is high quality and environmentally-sustainable, will go a long way in improving the economic stability of these communities.

2018 Projects

Site First Aid Project: Using funds from Fair Trade premiums, a medical tent was set up near the cotton fields and supplied with basic first aid supplies such as gauze and bandages. This project was aimed at meeting basic standards of workplace safety that will provide cotton producers medical treatment in case of injury.