Transforming The $3 Trillion Fashion Industry & Farmers in India
An American is collaborating with Indian farmers to build a new kind of business model for cotton farming. If successful, it could revolutionize Indias cotton farming industry and push companies in the US on a more environmentally-sound path. Thats great news for the $3 trillion fashion industry thats been targeted as the second largest polluter in the world. But can it work?
Cotton is one of Indias specialty crops; its also the second largest producer of cotton, after China. Yet more than 90% of the cotton is produced using conventional methods and with GMO seeds. The trouble with GMO seeds is that they cannot be used over and over again. That means farmers have to dole out more cash to buy more seeds after every harvest. In fact, the seed back for organic cotton had nearly disappeared had it not been for this enterprising co-op.
The Hyderabad-based Chetna cooperative set up 6 seed banks in the last 2 years all are concentrated in the eastern state of Orissa where cotton has become a cash crop in recent times. The seed banks are helping bring back a collection of non-GMO seeds to the Indian subcontinent.
Seeds are only the first step, though. Historically, organic cotton farmers have sold their organic harvest for conventional prices because of a lack of demand. The Chetna co-op was built to not only facilitate organic cotton farming in the country, but also help these farmers find a market.