08/15/2017

OCA and the True Potential of Organic Cotton

Published: August 8, 2017 

A prosperous organic cotton sector benefits everyone—from farmer to consumer. To realize the sector’s potential, we need to bring about the conditions that will allow the crop that safeguards the environment and enhances farmer livelihoods to flourish. 

The issue as to whether growing organic cotton produces lower yields is a hot topic. Clarity on this issue is important for understanding how far the lower social and environmental costs of organic cotton production are realized in practice.

To understand this issue, it is helpful to distinguish between organic cotton farming’s potential and what still needs to be done to fully realize that potential. Worldwide, organic cotton yield figures are highly variable. Organic cotton fiber yields reach up to 1,687 kg per hectare in Turkey, but just 508 kg per hectare in India, the world’s largest producer of organic cotton. Reaching the higher end of this yield spectrum is possible if the right enabling conditions are in place.

This is where the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) comes in.  OCA partners have joined forces to solve the sector’s problems and ensure the yields and benefits of organic cotton reach their full potential. OCA partners are piloting interventions designed to improve the organic cotton farmer business case, increase transparency in the supply chain, and secure availability and access to quality, high-yielding organic seed varieties. OCA plans to scale these interventions to ensure the environmental, economic and social benefits of organic cotton are fully maximized.

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