Building Resilience for Smallholder Cotton Farmers

To better understand the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to find out how to build future resilience in cotton farming communities, we asked the farmers enrolled in our cotton training programmes in India and Pakistan, and the local partners implementing these programmes, how they have been affected.

Read the report here.

Key findings include:

  • 74% of farmers said their farming has been affected because of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 62% of farmers said they were not able to build enough savings to buy inputs for the sowing season
  • Only 39% of farmers said they have benefitted from government schemes designed to help them
  • Farmers identified stronger and timely agricultural training and increased market linkage and cotton sale support to help build long term resilience.

The report includes recommendations to:

  • Build financial resilience: e.g. through income diversification, accessing government schemes, self -help groups (SHGs) or low-interest loans
  • Build agricultural resilience: e.g. through crop diversification and alternate livelihoods
  • Increase market linkages: e.g. assurance that farmers will be able to sell their cotton

Building resilience for cotton farmers includes brands and supply chain actors working together to make sure that farmers have security that they can sell their cotton. This calls for reinventing the role of brands, not just as procurers of cotton, but with a responsibility for each stage of the supply chain, ultimately supporting smallholder farmers to thrive.

At CottonConnect, our approach has always been to listen to the cotton farming communities we work with. During the COVID-19 pandemic we asked what response was needed. Our Sustainable Lives: Mission Hope campaign has now reached over 90,000 cotton farmers in India and Pakistan, increasing awareness of practical measures to prevent transmission, for example through handwashing.

Source: In June 2020 CottonConnect surveyed cotton farmers and local implementing partners in India and Pakistan. The 57 cotton farmers who participated in the survey included farmers from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in India and from Sindh in Pakistan. 22 representatives, including CEOs, Directors, Production Unit Managers, Project Coordinators and Field Executives, were surveyed from seven local implementing partners who represent over 141,000 farmers.

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