25 April, 2016
Last month, Bart Vollaard and Laure Heilbron visited India for the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA). Bart, OCA’s interim Director of Supply, and Laure, OCA’s interim Executive Director, participated in different stakeholder meetings and field visits to present OCA. During their time in India, they established working relations and gathered input on further designing the strategy and Supply program of OCA.
An important part of the trip was to attend and present at the Working Group on Organic Cotton Promotion in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The Working Group meeting focused on promoting progress of existing strategies for scaling organic cotton production, whilst also strengthening collaboration among stakeholders. OCA received a warm welcome before presenting its current strategy and program, and received valuable input for further development and stakeholder contacts.
A highlight of the Working Group meeting was the presentation of a model for organic cotton seed production and identification of suitable varieties by the JNKVV University (State Agricultural University) of Jabalpur. The organic seeds are to be produced for and marketed by the Madhya Bharat Consortium of Farmer Producer Companies, which represents 47 farmer producer companies.
After attending the Working Group, the OCA team met with the Principal Secretary of Agriculture of the Government of Madhya Pradesh. During the meeting, the Secretary emphasized the Government of Madhya Pradesh’s interest in promoting the organic cotton sector, inviting OCA to collaborate and develop a joint strategy paper.
In the following days, Bart and Laure conducted several site-visits to gain additional insights in the business case for organic cotton on the production side. Among the visits was a meeting with organic ginners/spinners in Indore, where the team received valuable input on OCA’s plans for the development of the traceability system and seed strategy. Additionally, the team paid a visit to bioRe India Ltd. in Kasrawad, where there was an exchange of information regarding seed breeding and research program, extension programs, and traceability, and visited a Pratibha processing plant, to observe the production process, from spinning the cotton to finishing the garment.
The gathered input, experiences, and valuable contacts will all be leveraged to improve OCA’s strategy and Supply and Demand programs.