Project Reinforces Organic Cotton Production in Semi-arid Region of Brazil

Over the next two years, the new Brazilian initiative, “Cotton in Organic Farming Consotium” will aid approximately 800 farming families by strengthening organic production in seven Brazil states.

Cotton is the fiber most used in the fashion industry, but according to Embrapa Algodão, less than 0.1% of Brazilian production is organic. Organic cotton does not require toxic chemicals, does not damage the soil, and has a lower impact on the air and uses 71% less water and 62% less energy. Conventional cotton uses about 16% of the world’s insecticides and 7% of pesticides.

At the C&A Foundation, we are proud to be supporting this initiative along with the NGO Diaconia, Embrapa Algodão and the Fedeal University of Sergipe (UFS). Cotton farming is an important source of income for producers in these regions. In this way, the transition away from conventional cotton and its use of harmful chemicals and to organic farming is an opportunity to improve the lives of the farmers in Brazil.

According to agricultural engineer Fábio Santiago, coordinator of the action for the NGO Diaconia, the aim of the initiative is to reinforce management of the Participatory Conformity Assessment Bodies (OPACs) - associations representing the families of farmers certified to issue the organic product seal -, increasing the movement to include new families and encourage the organic production of produce. “Most of the families included in the project are led by women. They started to participate more in the actions and to become more interested in acquiring new knowledge, which increases the family income, improving quality of life,” says Maria de Fatima da Conceição Sousa, representative of the Association of Organic Farming Producers of the Semi-Arid Region of Piauí.

“The C&A Foundation works to make the fashion industry fairer and more sustainable. In doing so, we support projects that help us achieve that goal. Organic cotton generates income and the opportunity to improve quality of life for these producers. Growing it does not use pesticides and it consumes fewer water resources,”

 Luciana Pereira, the C&A Foundation’s Sustainable Raw Materials manager in Brazil