Better Cotton, the world's largest cotton sustainability initiative, has released its 2023 India Impact Report. It highlights substantial progress in reducing pesticide and water usage, enhancing farmer livelihoods, and promoting equality.
The report covers Indian cotton farmers in the Better Cotton Programme from 2014/15 to 2021/22. It explores the benefits of sustainable cotton production for people and the environment. It delves into various aspects of Better Cotton production, from resource utilization to farming community dynamics.
Since its launch in 2011, the Better Cotton Programme in India has grown from tens of thousands to nearly one million farmers. The report shows a 53% reduction in pesticide use due to Integrated Pest Management training and awareness campaigns. Highly hazardous pesticides use decreased from 64% to 10%, and Monocrotophos usage dropped from 41% to 2%.
Water usage for irrigation decreased by 29%, and nitrogen application decreased by 6%.Farmers' total costs per hectare decreased by 15.6%, with an average cotton lint yield 200kg per hectare higher than the national average. The number of women in Better Cotton Field Staff increased from 10% to over 25% in recent years.
The report celebrates progress, identifies development gaps, and focuses on improving communities growing cotton in India. Better Cotton now monitors year-on-year progress, emphasizing continuous improvement. Alan McClay, CEO of Better Cotton, reaffirmed their commitment to furthering farm-level improvements in India.