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The Prospects of Organic Cotton Industry in India By Sarabjyot Slach

India is the second largest producer and the largest exporter of cotton in the world. In an agrarian economy like India, cotton growing is the source of employment for many farmers. Due to the advancement in technology, increasing yield became easy but expensive for farmers who had insufficient resources to meet the growing demands. But, at one fell swoop, farmers earned less profit which inundated in debt that compelled them to commit suicide. Also, it resulted in environmental hazards by affecting the land and the ecology and health hazards by consuming products affected by these chemicals. Hence, an alternative that was prevalent but had lost its significance due to modern progression came as the saving grace. Organic farming is the technique of farming that encourages abstinence from using chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides, etc. for the cultivation of cotton crops. The farmers as well as the consumers benefitted, since it reduces the cost of production and the resultant product is free from chemicals. It is reported that most of the chemicals can cause cancer making them harmful for the people coming in contact with them in any form. But, due to less limelight, organic farming is still not as popular as it should be. Hence, the government as well as brands that produce cotton products should emphasise the use of organic cotton and effective marketing of the same would further ensure increased consumption. Many companies like Nike, Wal-Mart/Sam's Club, H&M, Levi Strauss & Co., and Adidas have taken the initiative and offer products made from organic cotton. Further, many Indian designers that create garments using cotton should focus on using organic cotton only and highlight the fiber to attain attention and to create awareness at the same time. Cotton saris are the most widely bought garment by Indian women and the demand for organic cotton saris can be helpful in gaining momentum for the practice of organic cotton farming. Many organisations, like VOFA (Vidarbha Organic Farmers Association), MOFA (Maharashtra Organic Farmers Association), etc. have been created to provide technical advice and exchange knowledge over the cultivation of organic cotton between farmers and experts. The International Federation for Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) has devised standards and guidelines for organic cotton cultivation that are followed by many organizations that offer certified products made from organic cotton. Such projects have endowed organic cotton cultivation with a new perspective and helped increase the demand of organic cotton.

Events such as International Organic Trade Fair that was held in Bangalore last year should be organized frequently and other such events and exhibitions should be held to create awareness amongst the consumers as well as industries. With many organizations sprouting up and government actively involved in creating awareness about the benefits of organic cotton, the rise in production and consumption of the same is expected. Also, the consumers are becoming knowledgeable and more cautious of their health which eases them to choose a more natural product. Hence, the future of organic cotton industry in India seems bright and cost-effective.