Our case studies introduce successful organic cotton producer groups, provide details of different business models, and explore the best in terms of providing benefits to the organic farming community.
Agrocel was an organisation set up to serve the farming community; in particular smalland marginal farmers. It started in 1998 withonly 500 acres and around one hundred farmers. Today Agrocel, which prides itself on providing ‘Service with a Human Face’,has its own farming networks of over 45,000 farmers, growing cotton and associated system crops across India. Land under cotton,and other crops, is now around 45,500 acres. With close farmer relationships, increased processing, strong marketing, a branded export product and partnerships at the heart of their business; Agrocel is increasing the support they offer their organic cotton farmers and growing the case for organic in an effective and innovative way.
The Aratex vision is to develop a sustainable agro business, with social and environmental responsibility. The company, which was established in 2008, coordinates and controls the whole cotton supply chain, from the seed production, through to finished garments.Aratex promotes organic production of cotton by offering better prices, support for crop diversification and subsistence production as well as offering technical assistance and organic seeds at low cost. Fiber, yarn, fabric, garments are exported to Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, UK, Slovenia, USA, Argentina and Brazil. In Paraguay, products are sold from stores located in Asunción.
The Tanzanian company BioSustain was established in 2006 with the aim to revive cotton production using organic farming and to provide markets for organic certified products - with an emphasis on quality.BioSustain provides farmers with supportand technical assistance and pays an organic premium for the cotton. Production volumes have steadily increased since the start and are expected to further grow in coming years as BioSustain has acquired a cotton ginnery and an oil mill and have signed a memorandum of understanding with three district governments to promote organic farming.
Chetna Organic aims to improve the livelihood options of small farming households in rainfed regions of India by making their farming systems more sustainable and more profitable. Chetna has developed an innovative strategy combining the strengths of collective action and creating a supply chain owned by the farmer. Chetna has grown from reaching 234 farmers in 2004 to a membership base of 8,138 farmers in 2010.
Oro Blanco is a joint venture between the Dutch ecumenical development agency Solidaridad and farmers in Peru. Oro Blanco supports 71 organic cotton farmers in Cañeteand Chincha Valleys on about 275 hectaresof organic land. Oro Blanco farmers grow other organic crops on their land as well as cotton, but organic cotton is by far their most successful and profitable crop. Oro Blanco supplies organic cotton to socially responsible local manufacturers that export organic garments to fashion brands like the Dutch brand ‘Kuyichi’. Oro Blanco has also got shares in Kuyichi. This means that if Kuyichi are successful farmers benefit directly.
Remei / bioRe
The ethical Swiss textile company Remei AG was first established in 1983. In 1991 Remei set up the bioRe project; an organic cotton development program starting with around 200 farmers in India. Three years later in 1994 the organic cotton program in Tanzania was launched when Remei started to work with 45 local farmers. The number of farmers now totals 8,438 (from which 6,455 are in Madhya Pradesh, India and 1,983 in the Shinyanga District Tanzania). Remei AG – acts as the trading arm for the organic cotton produced by bioRe and oversee the entire value chain. This model provides the stability and security to support - both financially and professionally - the growing self-sufficiency of bioRe®India Ltd and bioRe®Tanzania Ltd.
SEKEM was founded in 1977 by the Egyptian pharmacologist and social entrepreneur DrIbrahim Abouleish. The name SEKEM is the transliteration of a hieroglyph, meaning “vitality”. SEKEM’s goals are to “restore and maintain the vitality of the soil and food as well as the biodiversity of nature” through sustainable, organic agriculture and to support social and cultural development in Egypt. Through its diverse community of businesses and organisations SEKEM has been able to demonstrate that organic farming practices can be undertaken on a commercial scale and that improving the local environment can be done at the same time as opening up lucrative export markets for local farmers and their families.
Zameen Organic is a farmer owned and controlled cotton enterprise specialising in organic and fair trade products. Zameen adds value to farmers produce through processing and marketing and profit flows back to the farmers and their communities. In addition to empowering farmers, Zameen also works as a supply chain management company to raise environmental and social standards along the supply chain as well as ensuring that profits are distributed more evenly along the value chain ensuring that farmers get a fairer share.