Dibella impact report reveals interesting metrics on the living and working conditions of organic Fairtrade cotton farmers in India

Dibella Metrics

Dibella-Longlife has been a Europe-wide textile service partner since 1986, offering long life and high-performance flat linen for contract business in the hotel, hospitality and health-care industry. Dibella cuts to the chase when it says that “long-life” isn’t just a catch phrase, but actually reflects the entire approach of the company. By using excellent yarns and fabrics, the company addresses the high demands of professional textile rental services. As passionate textile specialists, they combine innovation and sustainability with pragmatism and economic efficiency.

Dibella sources its cotton from the Chetna cooperative in India. Chetna in turn procures this cotton from the states Telangana and Odisha, where farmer producer organizations are being supported to produce organic Fairtrade cotton. Dibella insists on using Fairtrade cotton because it has sustainability rooted in its DNA, and as a team, they are committed along the entire value chain to respecting values and assuming responsibility as a good corporate citizen.

To understand its sourcing sector better, Dibella recently published an impact report on the working and living conditions of organic Fairtrade cotton farmers in India during the cotton season 2017-18. The report was prepared by Chetna, and the data were collected using SourceTrace’s farm management tool.

The analysis is fully linked with the sales data of the Chetna farmers who cultivate organic cotton for textiles. Each individual farmer has his own ID number and is therefore individually identifiable.

What stands out is that the Dibella impact report is one of the first studies in the world to look at the living and working conditions of organic cotton farmers in India. The Chetna cooperative worked intensely for two years on collecting the underlying data material. This report reveals some interesting socio-economic metrics.

The downside of the cotton industry

But first, here’s putting all of this in context. Cotton was an industry in which things had started going horribly wrong. The situation reached a tragic low point when instances of hundreds of debt-ridden cotton farmers committing suicides across the cotton producing states of India came to light. Farmers were unable to afford the increasing rates of production of cotton, and several hundred of them drove themselves to the final end. There could not have been a more urgent stimulus to shift the narrative to a financially and ecologically sustainable one. Organic cotton became that alternate narrative. Organic cotton can bring sustainable and regenerative practices into cotton farming. Chetna Organic Agriculture Producer Company is an enterprise that wholly embraces organic cotton production in India.

Chetna’s organic cotton program

The Chetna Organic & Fairtrade Cotton Intervention Program was launched in 2004 in response to the agricultural crisis in India. The intention and mission was to safeguard the livelihoods of small and micro farmers by enabling them to manage their soils sustainably and profitably. The objectives of the initiatives are i. to increase productivity and lower cultivation costs ii. to promote the self-sustainability of local farmers iii. to open up market access by creating value iv. to promote the development of women and children.

This impact report examines the working and living conditions of the Chetna cooperative farmers during the season 2017/18, and contains data in the following categories: demography, marital status, housing situation, access to drinking water and electricity, hygiene status, education, government livelihood programmes, use of fuel, mobile phone use and mobility.

Some key findings:

Dibella Metrics

Young men in low-income rural communities were often drawn to the cities to look for work in conventional farming due to the lack of any perspective. The Chetna Cooperative’s fair prices and premiums create an incentive for young people to stay in farming and for families to remain united.

Agriculture – cultivation of farming land

In order to preserve ecological diversity, avoid monocultures and also tap an additional source of income, organic Fairtrade cotton farmers cultivate various intercrops.

Dibella views education as the key to success. With the aim of bringing in education, Dibella established the GoodTextiles Foundation, committed to promoting schooling for the farmers’ children as well as for further education of the organic Fairtrade cotton farmers. In addition to a school project for girls, a training centre was established in Adilabad to assist organic cotton farmers in all aspects of cotton farming.

Dibella plans to bring out periodic updates to this report, which demonstrates its commitment to the sustainability of the organic cotton sector and its commitment to addressing shortcomings and contribute to improving farmers’ prospects.

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