Chetna boosts organic cotton in India

Chetna Organic in India has grown from reaching 234 farmers in 2004 to a membership base of 8,138 farmers in 2010. From a small project, it developed into a large-scale independent organization. Several European fashion labels procure organic cotton from Chetna.

Target

To reduce poverty and improve the living conditions of cotton farmers in India. Chetna produces and trades in a fair and sustainable way to realize this ambition.

Reason

Conventional cotton producers in India are faced with numerous challenges. Expensive pesticides and fertilizers are widely used, resulting in serious financial, environmental and health problems. Many Indian farmers see no solution for their problems. Labourers in the sewing workshops are faced with poor working conditions. Chetna helps both workers and farmers find solutions.

Activities

  • Assisting farmers to switch to organic farming, setup producer organizations, obtain certification and gain market access.
  • Improving labour conditions in sewing workshops.
  • Expanding the project to other federal states of India.
  • Exploring market opportunities at a global level.

Euronews Terra Viva made a report on the Chetna Organic approach. Please view the video below.

Results

  • Within 5 years, Chetna Organic developed from a project with 240 farmers into an independent organization with more than 6,000 farmers. In 2009, it registered its own Trading Company.
  • The wellbeing of farmers has considerably improved; labour conditions improved, and environmental degradation was stopped.
  • Chetna expanded its activities from the Indian federal states Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra to Orissa.
  • Chetna Organic Farmers Association (COFA) is strongly networked within and outside India. It has a strong lobby capacity and has been able to positively influence policy on GMOs and on organic certification.
  • Chetna produces cotton in a fair and sustainable way and is Fair Trade certified. It is represented in the Regional Advisory board of FLO.
  • A growing number of European fashion labels, such as Jackpot and Imps&Elfs, procures 100% organic cotton from Chetna.
  • COFA has been elected as board member in MADE-BY.

Facts

Company history: in 2004, ETC India and Solidaridad started Chetna Organic in India. Current co-financers are ICCO, Ford Foundation, GSRD and others.
Since 2007, Chetna Organic is a foundation for farmer support: Chetna Organic Farmers Association (COFA) and a producers company: Chetna Organic Agriculture Producer Company (COAPCL).
Location: Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, India.
Target group: more than 6,000 organic cotton farmers.
Buyers: Jackpot, Fair&Co, Imps&Elfs and many others.

 

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