Growing Farmer Resilience and Livelihoods

Growing Farmer Resilience and Livelihoods is the lynchpin of our mission. Everything begins with farmers, the stalwart guardians of the land. We believe that farmers switching to organic should be compensated for their efforts and for safeguarding the planet and its resources. In 2022 we welcomed a new wave of farmers into our Indian and Pakistani Farm Programme. Supporting and funding new pools of in-conversion farmers year after year is key in establishing a transparent, responsible, and resilient supply chain. We continue to strive towards higher income for organic cotton farmers, while investing in capacity building, research and empowering the OCA farmers with knowledge.

Better Income for more Organic Cotton Farmers

Our Farm Programme is a key lever for delivering the Organic Cotton Effect. We are using it to redesign how brands, retailers, and the supply chain source their organic cotton while transforming the lives of the cotton farmers producing it and the ground on which they farm. Through our Farm Programme, we aim to incentivise their work in organic cultivation, through premium payments and guaranteed purchases.

In 2022 OCA managed to successfully bridge the gap between conventional and organic farmers’ earnings for the sixth year in a row. The results in our latest Farm Programme Impact Report from the cotton season 2021-22 illustrate the positive benefits we are delivering on the ground. By working with over 74,000 farmers, we tripled farmer numbers compared to the previous season, and these farmers earned, on average, 6% more in net profit from their cotton per hectare than their local non-organic peers. The report shares case studies of farmers who, with ongoing support through OCA’s Farm Programme, are planting organically and are seeing the economic benefits.

Last year also gave way to upgraded data reporting and an exclusive platform to monitor key insights for our work on the field. The platform, exclusive to our partners, offers transparent, real-time information directly from the farm.

Download the report

Empowering through Knowledge

Every year we further improve capacity building materials for farmers, adapting their training to better embrace new opportunities and face challenges as they come.

2022 saw the launch of our Organic Cotton Training Curriculum the first organic cotton growers’ training package developed in over a decade. Available in English and Hindi, the curriculum is a standardised trainer’s package on organic agronomic best practices. Used by the dedicated field staff of OCA’s Implementing Partners, it enables the delivery of year-round training and advisory support to in-conversion and certified organic farmers across India. The material was developed under the technical guidance of FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture), with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and funding by the German FederalMinistry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The Organic Cotton Training Curriculum is publicly available to benefit the entire organic cotton sector and beyond. OCA has additionally invested in a Learning Management System Platform to support virtual training and easy access to the materials, directly online or via a mobile app, for field staff of its Implementing Partners. Furthermore, a Pakistani version is in the making, planned for a release in the second half of 2023.

"The Organic Cotton Training Curriculum is designed to reduce the gaps between scientific and practitioner communities. The curriculum will help develop the cotton-growing community’s capacities to produce more sustainably and work as a catalyst to fast-track the system’s transformation toward resilience."

Dr. Amritbir Riar, Deputy leader of the Department of International Cooperation, FiBL

Download the curriculum

What Farmers Say

"The most significant change is that now we are doing organic cultivation. The new ideas, processes, and technologies we have learned are constructive. Our cost of cultivation is going down, and health is going up."

Tarsila, organic cotton farmer from the Mohancot village in Madyha Pradesh, India.

"I have extended the organic method of cultivation to other crops and if everyone does the same it is good for our health, soil health and for the environment."

Sanjay, organic cotton farmer from the Devlana village in Maharashtra, India.

"I was hesitant to shift to organic cultivation methods and tried organic cotton farming in 1 acre initially and observed gradual improvement in soil health and yield. Additionally, the investment was less than half that of Bt(conventional) cotton."

Prahlad, organic cotton farmer from the Inzala village in Maharashtra, India.

What our Contributors Say

"The journey with OCA has been enlightening and fulfilling for the farmers and the program partners. It's the only industry-driven platform that has managed to get all the players in the supply chain on a single format of the "Farm Commitment Agreement" that, neutrally, looks at all costs involved and provides adequate assurances to all concerned. Additionally, project partners and farmers associated with OCA have genuinely benefited from the new OCA curriculum and toolkit even as it continues to be rolled out nationwide. Congratulations to the OCA team, the retailers, civil society members, and supply chain partners that have made this a success, along with the entire farming community".

Amit Shah, CEO & Founding Partner, Spectrum Cottfibers LLP

"We proudly support organic cotton farmers' livelihood through our partnership with OCA. The brand's commitments and higher incomes are crucial to encourage farmers to pursue organic agricultural practices, which are challenging".

Virginie Cayzeele, Raw Materials Leader, KIABI

Looking Forward: Farm Programme 2022-23

As we look towards the 2022–2023 season, OCA’s Farm Programme has steadily grown to include 60 farm projects, 16 brands and retailers, 10 Implementation Partners and an approximate total of 76,000 farmers across six Indian states and has officially launched in Pakistan. We are looking forward to increasing the number of farmers that are benefitting from the participation in our Farm Programme year after year. The release of the Farm Impact Programme Report for the 2022-23 season is expected in the second half of 2023.

Up Next

Join OCA For a Sustainable Future

OCA is working towards a future where each farmer switching to organic cotton creates a ripple effect of positivity: farmers earn more, and their land and soils are fertile for future generations. Join OCA and become part of this systemic change! You can support OCA by becoming a Contributor, an Implementing Partner, or a Funding Partner. Let’s unleash the potential of organic cotton, together!
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