Success Stories From Organic Cotton Fields

Organic Cotton Fields,Agrocel


Shri Laljibhai Ramji Patel is an organic cotton farmer who lives in Navalgadh, Gujarat with his wife and three children. Ramji started organic cotton farming in 2001-2002. And he saw the benefits sooner than he expected. Now he has even bought a television and a refrigerator for his house. According to him, there is an increase of 25% in his income due to organic cotton farming. Ramji is one of the biggest land owners in the region and hence has motivated many other farmers to switch to organic cotton farming.

Similarly Shri Karsanbhai Manji Chaudhary, a farmer in Mandvi (Koday) switched to organic farming during 2001-2002. Manji Chaudhary is a foresighted farmer who knew that organic farming would help farmers in many ways. He knew that due to crop-rotation, which is an integral part of organic cotton farming, the agricultural land will be more fertile.

These are examples from Agri Impact Assessment II, ‘More from the Cotton Fields’ undertaken by Mott MacDonald Private Limited for Agrocel Industries. Agrocel was established in 1989, with the primary objective of serving the farming community by providing them high quality technical advice, agricultural inputs and guidance at a fair price. The three-year ‘More from the Cotton Fields’ project was funded by the Shell Foundation, Agrocel, grant-making trusts, and donations from generous individuals.

The research was carried out to assess the success of Agrocel’s ‘More from the Cotton Fields’, designed to improve the environmental, economic and social standards of cotton farmers. The programme aimed at providing farmers with a stable livelihood through means of sustainable organic farming and to address certain additional aspects, such as a year-round economic utilization of land, development of additional organic products from alternate crops grown on the same land as a form of crop rotation etc.

Over 2000 farmers saw their lives changing from the adoption of more sustainable means of farming. For example, Narmadaben, a female cotton farmer, swears by organic cotton farming. Her decision to go organic did not go down well with her family initially. However, they accepted her decision when they saw the assistance provided to her under the project.


With the guidance given by Agrocel, Narmadaben has introduced various new methods of farming on her farm. According to her, these have led to 10% increase in her annual income, besides improvement in the working conditions on the agricultural land. Narmadaben is convinced that organic farming is the way for the future and that more projects like these should be implemented to guide the farmers in the right direction.

These success stories tell how farmers have gained a lot from organic cotton farming. Not only have their incomes increased, the conditions in which they work, has also improved significantly. Now the farmers are less debt ridden and can take care of their families in a better way by investing in the household facilities.

The project has now been completed and has had very positive results. The final evalution has shown that cotton farmers have seen economic, environmental and social benefits.

According to a Traidcraft report, farmer incomes increased by at least 15%. Further, farmers saved costs through improved farming practices and through converting to organic practices which do not need expensive pesticides – 98% experienced less financial hardship.

Farmers, says, Traidcraft, have reduced their debt – 90% having reduced their indebtedness. Farmers are growing rotational crops and are less dependent on cotton – farmers have been able to make an income despite the failure of some crops – something they were unable to do in the past.

The health of farmers and their families has also improved through the reduced use of chemicals – 100% attributed reduced incidences of illness in their families to the adoption of organic cultivation. The social impact is also evident in communities having seen a reduction in migration to urban centres – 58% saw a reduction in urban migration.

With more money coming in, irrigation facilities in the village have been improved by investing in a new well,tube well,or putting electric motor oil engine and also adopting modern concept of drip irrigation. Also, funds from Fair Trade are being used in community development.Majority of the farmers believe that such funds have helped them in carrying out projects such as deepening of village lakes, providing drinking water facilities in schools, building approach roads to villages, and organizing farmers’ training programs, building community Gobar gas plant etc.

Photo courtesy: Traidcraft

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