CottonConnect 2016/17 Impact Report

At CottonConnect we understand that by improving cotton farmer education and business practices, significant impacts can be made in improving community livelihoods. Enhancing the sustainable cotton supply chain also supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals of poverty eradication, zero hunger, good health and well-being, gender equality and decent work.

Our initial 2016/17 Impact Report results show CottonConnect programmes have achieved significant tangible results globally, compared with a sample of conventional farmers not receiving the training.


Reducing input costs

Cotton is a labour and environmentally intensive crop with over 60% of the world’s supply produced in developing countries and by cotton communities of smallholder farmers with limited worker protection, education and gender equality.

By training farmers on basic farm management methods, those on our programme have seen a 6.1% decrease in input costs. Reducing the cost of cotton production creates a more stable socio-economic situation for farming communities, improving livelihoods and contributing to the UN SDG of No Poverty.


Reduction in chemical pesticides, fertilisers and water usage

Understanding that soil quality is the foundation on which good farming is based, we are training cotton farmers how to maintain soil health and farm sustainably using various bio-diverse fertilisers and sustainable farming practices.

As a result of caring for the planet from the ground, farmers have seen a reduction in chemical pesticides and fertilisers by 24% and 44% respectively.

Cotton is one of the world’s ‘thirstiest’ crops, therefore addressing water usage is a critical step towards a more sustainable cotton industry.

We have seen improved water footprints as farmers adopt water efficiency methods, such as rainwater harvesting and moving from flood irrigation to furrow and drip irrigation. Those our programme have reduced water consumption by an average of almost 20%.

By training farmers to implement these basic techniques, the cotton industry is contributing to SDG 3: Good health and wellbeing and SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production.


Improving yields and profit. 

By investing in improved education and technical skills farmers are seeing many socio-economic benefits, including improved yields of up to 10.2% which enhance a farmer’s financial situation. Farmers on our programmes saw this lead to an average profit increase of 30.3%.

Addressing the challenges faced by farmers ensures we have a viable cotton industry in the future, given that cotton is one of the most widely used natural fibres in the world. By taking part in our programmes, farmers are improving biodiversity on their farmers and seeing tangible benefits for their families which is helping to meet SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth.

Get in touch to find out how CottonConnect cotton programmes can be implemented into your brand’s supply chain and deliver sustainable results that benefit both you and farmers on the ground.


* Statement on data

The positive impact of CottonConnect’s programmes is evaluated by six key metrics. The metrics of yield, water usage, pesticide use, fertiliser use, input cost and profit are used to measure the impact of the farmer training provided by the REEL Cotton, BCI and Organic training programmes on the overall objectives of reducing the impact of cotton growing on the environment and contributing to thriving livelihoods for cotton farmers and their communities.

The evaluation was conducted by CottonConnect on a 15%+ sample of farmers in the training programmes compared with conventional farmers in the cotton growing year 2016-2017. The impact data was collected by CottonConnect’s implementing partners and verified by CottonConnect. A high percentage of data was collected from REEL Cotton, BCI and Organic programmes which receives third party verification. For example, the REEL Cotton Programme is independently verified by a code of conduct developed with FLOCERT, the organization that provides Fairtrade International certification.

The 2016-2017 combined impact data is from all CottonConnect programmes (REEL Cotton, BCI and Organic) in India, China, Pakistan and Peru which reached 42,291 farmers.  On average, an additional four family members benefit from the impacts of a farmer’s training, leading to an estimated 211,455 livelihoods benefitting from the programmes.

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