The intent behind ROC cultivation is to emphasise farming practices that restore and build soil, and render fair conditions for farmers

The intent behind ROC cultivation is to emphasise farming practices that restore and build soil, and render fair conditions for farmers

India's Vasudha Swaraj, the agricultural arm of Pratibha Syntex Ltd, a vertically integrated, sustainability-oriented manufacturer of knitted textiles and garments, has engaged 1,000 farmers in the cultivation of regenerative organic cotton.

The intent behind regenerative organic cotton (ROC) cultivation is to emphasise farming practices that restore and build soil, ensure animal welfare, and render fair conditions for farmers and farmworkers.

In a bid to increase farmer income and improvise soil health, Vasudha Swaraj promoted multi-cropping techniques. With multi-cropping and inter-cropping, while farmers receive additional crop and additional income from the same farmland, the carbon nutrient in the soil is also increased resulting in increasing arability of the farms lands, the company explains. Farmers were also given training on effective practices of animal husbandry.

Besides training, Vasudha Swaraj provides seeds and organic inputs without upfront payment and gives a buyback guarantee for cotton and all other crops. The efforts, the company says, have significantly improved the farmers' incomes.

With multi-cropping, farmers get additional income of from INR8,000 to 15,000 per season, said Mr Atul Mittal, Director, Vasudha Swaraj Pvt Ltd.

For the 2020-21 crop, the production of regenerative organic cotton is planned for 2,181 acres of land in the Petlawad region, in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The estimated yield of regenerative organic cotton for the year is 1,350 tonnes.

With regenerative organic cotton, pigeon pea, maize, green gram, black gram, cowpea, soybean, turmeric, marigold, cucumber, round gourd, sweet potato, groundnut, chilli, okra and brinjal were multi-cropped.

Multi-cropping has multiple benefits like minimum soil erosion, improved water percolation, increased moisture retention, increased Micorrhiza population, enhanced microbial activity, carbon and nitrogen ratio maintained, which balances the electric conductivity of ion and soil pH and increased the percentage of available macro and micro nutrients.