Cotton is the most used natural fiber in the global textile sector. The demand for organic cotton especially is ever increasing from brands and retailers. One main challenge is aligning the increasing demand for certified organic cotton with the available supply. At the same time, however, the risk of contaminated cotton from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is also increasing.
During the Pilot Project Organic Cotton in India (South Odisha) several companies and organisations have joined forces with the aim of increasing the amount of available organic cotton on the world market.
The transition from conventional to organic cotton farming is accompanied by extensive training measures, which are designed to promote capacity building in smallholder organic cotton production in the long term.
This includes efficient organic farming methods as well as the sustainable quality development of organic cotton.The provision of GMO-free seed packages enables farmers to improve the quality of sowing independent of the seed suppliers.
The role of women will be strengthened through the certification of women-led farms. More enterprises owned by female farmers means more women having increased independence through direct access and control over financial resources.
In addition, binding and long-term cotton sourcing commitments by brands and retailers will help to improve the economic resilience of producers. A minimum support pricewill be paid to organic farmers while farmers in-conversion to organic certification will be supported by a Fairtrade Premium payment.
Cooperation partners of the Pilot Project in India are Transfair e.V. (Fairtrade Deutschland), Tchibo GmbH, Dibella b. v. and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. Implementing partner on site is the Indian Chetna Cooperative in the FFID umbrella organization of cooperatives of (cotton) smallholder farmers. With the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) the pilot project has an organic cotton-focused multi-stakeholder organisation dedicated to organic cotton on board, whose goal is to fully unleash the potential of organic cotton. In the current project, OCA is responsible for monitoring and evaluation.
The project started on June 1, 2020, and the current project phase ends on March 31, 2023.
Following the Pilot Project, the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles plans a Partnership Initiative Organic Cotton in India to be launched this year. Brands, retailers and Standard Organisations are welcome to join the Partnership Initiative.