For a new pilot project in India, the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) program has teamed up with textiles supplier Dibella, retailer Tchibo, Fairtrade Germany, and the German development organization GIZ.
More than 500 cotton farmers in the Indian states of Telangana and Odisha will get financial assistance, non-GM seed, and organic cotton cultivation training in order to harvest 250 tonnes of organic cotton - and cotton from fields in conversion - every year.
The pilot will support farmers in the Fairtrade co-operative Chetna with extensive training in efficient organic farming practices designed to promote capacity building in smallholder organic cotton production.
The Organic Cotton Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to organic cotton production. In conjunction with its German partner Tchibo, OCA has launched a pilot initiative in India. Companies and retailers are encouraged to sign long-term organic cotton buying agreements.
During the three-year in-conversion phase, which is about how long it takes to clear the soil of agrochemicals on average, the farmers will be supported. Organic farmers will get a minimum support price that covers the costs of sustainable production as well as an organic premium, while farmers in the process of conversion will receive a Fairtrade Premium payment.
The pilot will also focus on women farmers by expanding the number of certifications of women-led farms. More female farmers owning businesses implies more women have direct access to and control over financial resources, giving them more freedom.
Executive Director at OCA, Bart Vollaard, said if they can provide a business rationale for farmers, whether they are migrating to organic farming or are currently certified, the supply of organic cotton will expand. This pilot's strength lies in the fact that it contains the appropriate components and partners. Brands and retailers must commit to contractual and long-term cotton procurement agreements if farmers are to improve their economic resilience. They're looking forward to seeing how this initiative inspires and informs larger-scale action from the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and beyond.
The Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) has joined the pilot project as the first multi-stakeholder organization devoted solely to organic cotton and dedicated to ensuring its integrity, supply security, and demonstrable social and environmental impact. OCA will be in charge of assessing and validating the project's impact.
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