On 7 May 2018, I had the opportunity to attend, and also be a panel speakers at the Organic Cotton Summit organised by the Organic Cotton Accelerator, a network organisation set-up by the Brands (having interest in the Cotton fiber) at Bhopal. It brought face-to-face the various players in the Organic Cotton Value from the FPOs & Institutions working in the field to the big brands that manufacture of Garments.
Organic Cotton forms just 1% of global Cotton production at 108 thousand MT. 56% of this (60 thousand MT) is produced in India. The fabric brands are keen to increase their Organic Cotton usage within the next 4 to 5 years from present levels (20%), to 60 -70 or 100% in some cases. While Egypt & Turkey will also contribute to the increased production, the largest supplier that the Brands are looking to is India. In order to make this happen, the Brands are willing to work with all the players in the Supply Chain to make Organic Cotton the preferred choice of Farmers.
The deliberations included how to ensure adequate returns to farmers both for the production cost as well as for income foregone for the sake of adopting sustainability practices, compensating farmers during the transition phase from conventional to organic, building farmers institutions, and ensuring adequate credit flow to Organic Cotton Farmers. OCA will work with all stakeholders and set-up a OCA fund to making this a reality.
On 8 May 2018, Cotton Trailblazers, an event to celebrate the achievement of Madhya Pradesh in Organic Cotton was organised. Madhya Pradesh produces 25% of the World’s Organic Cotton, and this has been achieved by the on-ground effort of local partners, ASA, AKRSP, WWF and Vasudha, with support of C&A Foundation & Government of Madhya Pradesh.
The highlight of the event was the prominence given to Farmers, women and men at the forum, to share their experience practicing Organic Agriculture. All the key stakeholders made commitment to collaborate and popularise Organic Cotton cultivation in Madhya Pradesh in a big way.
Organic Cotton has a good possibility in India.