Established in 2004, the organization’s aim is to empower small cotton farmers and help them increase the sustainability and profitability of their farming systems. One such focus is the Chetna Organic Cotton Project, a development initiative aimed at improving the livelihoods of smallholder and marginalized cotton farmers in different cotton growing regions in India. In order to achieve its goals, cotton farming families organize themselves into farmer self-help groups, which, in turn, are arranged into cooperatives.
Fairtrade cotton provides many social, financial and environmental benefits to the farmers involved in its cultivation. Fairtrade certification requires farmers to organize themselves into associations or cooperatives. This leads to a pooling of resources and places them in a stronger positon when selling their cotton. On top of a fair and stable price for their cotton, farmers receive an additional amount of money called the Fairtrade Premium. Use of the Premium is democratically decided upon by members of each association and is often invested in social, environmental and development projects within their communities.Some of the projects carried out with the Fairtrade Premium funds include:
- A new warehouse that is helping farmers avoid the health and fire risks of sorting cotton in their homes;
- Support for farmers to produce more profitable organic and non-GMO cotton;
- Infrastructure to support alternative income generating projects, including the construction of dhal mills, a bio-fertilizer unit, and a nursery, as well as the purchase of a tractor and attachments.