CottonConnect highlights cotton farmer training success in 2023 Impact Report

A woman cotton farmer stands in a field of cotton plants.

CottonConnect highlights cotton farmer training success in 2023 Impact Report

CottonConnect, the social enterprise driving sustainable cotton supply chains, has published its 2023 Impact Report to highlight the increases it’s seen in training farmers in sustainable agriculture around the world and driving a reduction in the environmental impact in the production of cotton.

CottonConnect is a well-established social enterprise platform with a roster of programmes in place to enhance and drive sustainable development across the global cotton supply chain network. Since 2013, it has worked with leading fashion and retail brands including Primark, helping to develop the business’ own sustainable cotton training programme.

CottonConnect’s primary impact is driven by the training programmes it offers farmers as a part of its network in a growing number of territories around the world.

Today, and outlining the results of programmes in the cotton production year 2022 to 2023, CottonConnect has trained over 523,000 farmers in sustainable agriculture programmes in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, and for the first time, Egypt. 

CottonConnect supporting Women in Cotton

The programme includes CottonConnect’s flagship REEL Cotton (including Women in Cotton); Organic Cotton Farmer Training Programme; REEL Regenerative pilot and Health and Safety for Gins.

Results – verified by second and third-parties – of the REEL Cotton programme across 2022/23 indicate that water usage has been reduced 21.6%, chemical pesticide use has been reduced 17.1%, and chemical fertiliser use has come down 14.4% among farmers on the programme compared with control farmers who continue to use non-regenerative methods.

This has come alongside not only an increase in yield (up 18.5%) but a 47% increase in profit for farmers on the programme, too. 

These results were achieved through CottonConnect’s three-year, farmer-led programme developed specifically to meet the needs of farmers and support them in adopting sustainable agriculture practices.

The report also boasts that today, more than 240,000 women farmers are participating in Women in Cotton programmes, contributing to the organisation’s goal of training 500,000 women by 2030.

A new initiative for 2022/23 focused on preventing and mitigating the impacts of climate change was the regenerative cotton pilot based on the REEL Regenerative Code, which took place in Gujarat, India. This pilot witnessed achievements that included 74.7% of farmers embracing practices to enhance biodiversity, 10% adopting homemade bio-pesticides, and 23% reducing chemical fertilisers and carbon emissions per acre farmed.

Building inclusive cotton economies

Alison Ward, ceo of CottonConnect, said: “This has been an exciting and transformative year for CottonConnect with the successful launch of several new and innovative programmes, the expansion of existing ones to new territories, and some really positive results across the board that demonstrate what we are doing is making a tangible difference.

“We are proud of the work we are doing to test and scale new solution that tackle environmental challenges, improve health and wellbeing and build inclusive economies, and in particular of the many fantastic partnerships we have formed that have helped us deliver this.

“Moving forward, these partnerships will prove even more critical for us as we continue to adapt and evolve to meet the changing needs of cotton farmers, retail brands, and the textile industry as a whole.” 

CottonConnect’s full 2023 Impact Report can be viewed here.

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