Developed with FiBL (The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture) as the research partner, in consultation with Organic Cotton Accelerator, its Implementing Partners and field teams, and other local experts, the curriculum will ensure robust training of trainers and the optimum transfer of knowledge to organic cotton farmers.
The newly launched curriculum is the first training package designed for organic cotton growers in over a decade, the OCA says. It includes in-depth modules and accompanying activity guides on a breadth of topics from seed to harvest. Supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the curriculum will complement existing training materials.
The Organic Cotton Training Curriculum is publicly available via the OCA website 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. The curriculum has already been launched on the ground, during the initial roll out in the summer of 2022, at OCA’s train-the-trainer sessions. As a result, hundreds of field staff from Implementing Partners and Farm Groups across the different regions of India have been trained up.
“This is a curriculum for all our dedicated field staff who deliver round- the- year training and advisory support to the in-conversion and certified organic farmers across many states in India,” said Shankhamala Sen, senior programme officer at Organic Cotton Accelerator. “It is unique in that it consolidates the most relevant topics and challenges that our field staff and farmers face on a day-to-day basis on crop management practices from the seed selection stage to post- harvest management. We are encouraged by the positive reception at field-level when the curriculum was piloted this summer. This is a key resource and milestone for OCA’s Programmes and the sector at large, and we are looking forward to building it out with further tools and including other geographies in the near future.”
Dr. Amritbir Riar, deputy leader of the Department of International Cooperation, FiBL, added: “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.”
In the long term, the platform is expected to be expanded with leading farmers and community leaders, with more local adaptations planned for 2023.
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While the curriculum is available in English and Hindi for the initial rollout across India, OCA will further work on translations to local languages and adapt the modules for Pakistan, where the organisation has recently started its Farm Programme. Organic Cotton Accelerator will host a public webinar on the Organic Cotton Training Curriculum on 30 November at 10.00 CET.
In July, the Organic Cotton Accelerator published its annual report which showed organic cotton production continues to grow and is heading towards “transparent, responsible and resilient” supply chains.