Cotton Connect has published its first Impact Report, focusing on the results of its programmes in the cotton production year 2021-22 across Pakistan, China, India and Bangladesh.
These programmes include the REEL cotton programme, organic cotton farmer training programme, women in cotton, and health and safety for gins.
The REEL cotton programme increased profit for its farmers by 18.1%, with a 6.6% increase in yield and an 11.4% reduction in input costs compared with control farmers, as shown by second and third party verified aggregated data.
These results were achieved by supporting farmers to adapt the sustainable agricultural practice taught in Connect Connect’s REEL programme which is is a three-year long farmer-led programme, with criteria developed specifically for cotton farmers’ needs.
The cotton produced from this programme is recognised by Textile Exchange as a preferred cotton.
These sustainable agricultural practices reduced negative impacts of cotton farming on the environment with chemical use down by 16.6%, chemical fertiliser lowered by 20.4% and water use reduced by 11.4% compared with control farmers.
Alison Ward, CEO of Cotton Connect, stated “For us, it’s not just about reducing the negative impacts of cotton cultivation on the environment. We’re also looking at the positive impact our programmes can have on the environment by improving soil health, biodiversity, and water management.
“We aim to build the resilience of cotton farming communities through gender equality, financial equity and a just transition. More importantly, involving farmers in decision-making and providing an inspirational future.”
In addition to the aggregated data, Cotton Connect also commissioned a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study of the REEL Cotton Programme. The results showed improvement across the majority of the programme’s indicators.
Cotton Connect is also an implementing partner of Better Cotton, which held an industry-wide symposium at the beginning of 2023 to discuss the cotton sector’s future impacts.