Chair - OCA Board of Trustees
OCA has established itself over the past few years as a solid multi-stakeholder organisation driving meaningful change. Set up to tackle a fragmented organic cotton sector, it has grown to unite voices, from farmers to fashion, on a mission to unleash the Organic Cotton Effect. As Chair of the OCA Board of Trustees, I am proud to see OCA delivering real and measurable impact. In 2022, OCA moved to a new phase—scaling farmer numbers, entering new territories, and expanding the team's expertise. OCA's dedicated team and partners on the ground have kept up with the pace of demand and continue to bring much-needed investment at the farm-level.
The tangible impact OCA has had on farmer livelihoods and the environment is evident in the figures throughout this report. OCA has sparked a movement of conventional farmers switching to organic practices, which will sustainably scale up the sector's growth. Seeing the organization expand its capabilities with new roles developed in the team is terrific.
On the Board of Trustees, I have been grateful to work with representatives from across the organic cotton supply chain that OCA has brought together. I also thank the board members who left us in 2022, for their guidance and valuable input. It was great last year to finally get back to meeting in person at both Board and Contributor meetings at OCA and, most importantly, on the field, in the farming villages, and throughout the organic cotton community.
We see globally that organic cotton is slowly increasing in production. Still, with organic only accounting for 1.4% of cotton production, a tremendous amount of hard work is left ahead of us. Our focus needs to remain on supporting conventional farmers to switch to organic and empowering our existing organic cotton farmers to reap the full benefits of their organic status. OCA needs your support to do so. From existing to new Contributors and from funders and grantees, I invite you to join and safeguard the future of organic cotton for generations to come.
Our name represents our mission to accelerate the transition to organic cotton. We are here to create a transparent, responsible, and resilient organic cotton supply chain. One that prioritises farmer prosperity and enables all stakeholders to meet their sustainability targets. In 2022, after two years of lockdown, we could really speed up our efforts toward our goal.
It was a year of significant growth for OCA. I am proud to share that, in 2022, we tripled the number of farmers working with us in India, witnessing a surge in the number of farmers transitioning to organic agriculture. Our work helped secure market linkages, better prices, and on-farm support for the growers in our programme, resulting in higher net income for their cotton than conventional farmers.
We launched our work in Pakistan, a country with incredible potential for organic agriculture. After a promising start early in the year, the country was hit by the devastating impact of the floods that uprooted the lives of millions, especially those of vulnerable communities we work with. The tragedy confronted us with the urgency to support the move of local communities toward more sustainable land use, making us even more determined to act.
Funding is critical to meet the rising demand for organic cotton worldwide. That's why in 2022, we unlocked more investment in organic and regenerative practices with the support of our strategic partners and donors. It allowed us to boost investment in the training and support of farmers converting to organic agriculture. We also rolled out a network of demonstration farms to help showcase the benefits of organic and regenerative farming practices; with the ultimate aim to increase the adoption of these practices across the many villages we work in.
In 2022 we launched our new website, designed to be a go-to platform for everything organic cotton. It hosts newly released state-of-the-art resources such as the Organic Cotton Training Curriculum and our Contributor Portal, where our partners have exclusive access to a dynamic overview of their impact at the farm level.
Finally, none of this would have been possible without all the farmers, Contributors, and partners who were part of our story in 2022. I am grateful to each and every one of you. The continued support for our mission - with more organizations joining OCA each year - is incredibly encouraging. We know the transition towards a more sustainable and equitable organic cotton sector is possible. Together we can get there, faster!