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Agrocel Cotton Growers' Association, India

Overview

Agrocel Pure & Fair Cotton Growers’ Association was formed in 2005 with the guidance of the Agri-Service Division of Agrocel Industries Ltd. Based at Bangalore, Agrocel’s Agri-Service division currently works with more than 20,000 farmers across India. It aims to improve the livelihoods of small-scale and marginalised Indian farmers by enabling them to participate in organic and Fairtrade production and by marketing with added value their production of cotton, rice, nuts and other crops.

Fairtrade Impact: 

The Fairtrade Minimum Price for seed cotton from India is $0.46/kg (Rs29.70) for organic and $0.38/kg (Rs28.50) for conventional. The additional Fairtrade Premium of $0.05/kg is for investment in projects that benefit the members and their communities. Projects are discussed and approved by members and managed by an elected committee. 

Around 20% of production by members of the Agrocel Pure & Fair Cotton Growers’ Association is certified organic, with nearly all the remaining production in conversion to organic. In the December 2008 – April 2009 season, members produced 4,408 tonnes of seed cotton, of which 3,000 tonnes were sold to the conventional export market, 886 tonnes to the local market and 538 tonnes (12% of the total) to the Fairtrade market, including 92 tonnes certified organic.

As well as the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Organic Premium, farmers’ groups receive the additional Fairtrade Premium for investment in business or community projects agreed by members. Recent projects include:

  • Short-term loan scheme for farmers to finance agricultural improvements
  • Relief fund to pay medical costs of poor farmers
  • Installation of on-farm drip irrigation & construction of village ponds to conserve rainwater
  • Construction of a kitchen and provision of clean running water for a village school
  • Provision of schoolbooks and clothes for children of poor farmers and villagers
  • Rehabilitation of degraded farm land
  • Farmer education and training programmes
  • Technical assistance to develop compost pits to make organic manure and fertilisers
  • Regular veterinary checks for farm animals
  • Free vegetable seed distribution scheme for farmers
  • Homeworking embroidery scheme to improve women’s incomes
  • Footwear stands for village schools (considered holy places so footwear must be removed)
  • Provision of solar street lamps in villages
  • Provision of pump equipment for the lift irrigation system
  • Provision of a tractor and land clearing equipment for the use of farmers
  • Provision of community hall for village meetings, weddings, and other social events
  • Integrated crop management practices to encourage pollinators, predators and parasitoids (P3), the natural enemies useful in reducing the population of insects known as sucking pests that attack cotton.

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