Organic cotton farmer
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CottonConnect is a valued partner for the C&A Foundation. We have been working together to develop a strong future for the organic cotton market globally. CottonConnect’s strength is in its depth of knowledge both in the field and the supply chain. I believe CottonConnect can build on their knowledge and expertise to becoming a catalyst for transforming the sustainable cotton market

– Anita Chester, Head of Sustainable Raw Materials, C&A Foundation

Together with C&A Foundation, we are supporting smallholder cotton farmers to adopt organic cotton production practices at scale, while scaling up production of organic cotton globally.

The context

C&A Foundation is a corporate foundation affiliated with the global clothing retailer C&A. The foundation brings together brands, NGOs and other change-makers to transform the fashion industry so that it works better for everyone it touches. They are working to make fashion a force for good.

At the same time, global retailer C&A is the world’s largest user of organic cotton and one of the driving forces behind the creation of CottonConnect in 2009.

C&A Foundation is pioneering in the work on development of organic cotton. By using organic farming practices, the cotton is grown without synthetic chemicals or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) protecting soil quality, biodiversity and water supply. This type of agriculture is less harmful for farmers and farming communities. Still, less than 1% of cotton globally is grown organically.

Partnership with CottonConnect

Through CottonConnect’s Organic programme C&A Foundation has been able to provide technical and financial support to 23,000 farmers, enabling them to convert to organic and farm as efficiently as possible, and get certified. Organic certification verifies that farmers are following the organic practices and enables them to sell their crop as organic.

Making the case to farmers to convert to organic involves a holistic approach. Organic production usually entails reduction in yields in the initial years, although it normally also reduces input costs. The programme is pioneering training on good agricultural practices, organic cotton cultivation, financing of organic certification and the organisation of farmer collectives at scale.

By working with CottonConnect, C&A Foundation are supporting farmers to grow good quality organic cotton, while securing organic cotton for the future.

CottonConnect assist with farm monitoring and support, checking contamination from the seed through to the fibre and with the organic certification process. Additionally, we support C&A Foundation’s work on organic seed research in China.

Finally, C&A Foundation and CottonConnect worked together with other players to found the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA), a multi-stakeholder initiatives aimed at building a flourishing international organic cotton market.

Impact and outcomes

Good for environment and society:
  • 23,000 cotton farmers have converted to organic cultivation practices; 16,000 of these will be organic certified farmers in 2017 and results so far show lower costs compared to conventional farmers and improved water footprints as farmers adopt water efficiency methods, such as rainwater harvesting and moving from flood irrigation to furrow and drip irrigation.
  • We are helping C&A Foundation to ensure long-term organic cotton production, which will further improve water efficiency, biodiversity and soils. Organic cotton uses 91% less water and 62% less energy compared to conventionally grown cotton.
Good for business:
  • Supporting C&A Foundation to scale-up production of organic cotton globally.
  • Having a trusted partner on the ground enables C&A Foundation to work closely with a large number of farmers to identify key issues and find solutions to overcome these.

 

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