That Organic Cotton T-Shirt May Not Be as Organic as You Think

That Organic Cotton T-Shirt May Not Be as Organic as You Think – In the Khargone region of central India’s Madhya Pradesh, one of the world’s largest producers of natural cotton, growers have grown locally known as white gold for generations.

“Cotton is the lifeblood of our lives,” said Niyaz Ali, 60, sitting on a charpai, a traditional South Asian woven bed, next to his son, his wife, his daughter-in-law, and many grandchildren in the open front room. of a cool concrete floor under a thatched roof. “She takes care of everything – working in the fields, the children’s school fees, the food on the table.”

In the late 1990s, when cotton grown without chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers was a rare commodity purchased exclusively for high-quality yoga brands, two Swiss companies formed a Biore Foundation to support the planting of natural cotton in Madhya Pradesh.

Through India’s contract production system, which allows cotton suppliers to register about 500 farmers as a single business, bioRe began acquiring and selling natural cotton controlled by India’s Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Authority.

Four years ago, bioRe workers came to Chandanpuri, the village of Mr. Ali, and pitch: If cotton growers were turning their fields into organic, Biore would provide training and seeds, teaching them how to make natural manure from animal manure. as well as an insecticide from traditional herbs, and pay more than the market price for conventional cotton. BioRe also promised to buy whatever volume they were able to increase.

Mr. Ali and nine other farmers agreed. From his point of view, genetically modified seeds were expensive and dried up. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers were toxic and unhealthy. He would happily return to the ways of nature, such as those used by his grandfather, especially if natural cotton was more profitable. Three years ago, Mr. Ali began the difficult task of transforming his 11-acre [11 ha] farm from organic cotton into organic More.

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