Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Profits up for farmers in Primark’s sustainable cotton programme

Female farmers working with Primark’s sustainable cotton programme recorded a 247% increase in profits in 2016.

The programme, set up in 2013, aims to support women from traditionally male-dominated farming communities in the Indian province of Gujarat to introduce sustainable farming methods, improve cotton yields and increase incomes, in partnership with agricultural experts CottonConnect and the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA).

Costs inputs also dropped by 19.2% last year as farmers reduced chemical pesticide and fertiliser usage and bought seeds collectively with other farmers.

In total, 1,251 farmers participated in the first three years of the programme and in 2016 Primark announced that the programme would be extended to reach a further 10,000 farmers over a six-year period.

In India, the world’s second-largest producer of cotton, women play a crucial role in the plant’s cultivation. Despite figures from the International Trade Centre showing that women account for 70% of the cotton planting and 90% of the hand-picking in India, the average income for women in rural India is just 78% of men’s.

Katharine Stewart, ethical trade and environmental sustainability director at Primark, said: “Primark’s long-term ambition is to ensure all the cotton in our supply chain is sourced sustainably. We approached SEWA and CottonConnect because we wanted to develop a project that would give us invaluable insight into producing sustainable cotton and make a meaningful difference for cotton farmers in India.

“We knew that to have maximum impact, the programme needed to be delivered by experts on the ground with local knowledge and expertise to engage with smallholders and their families. In doing so it has shown that sustainable farming methods are good for the environment and farmers’ incomes. But more than that, this programme has improved lives. It has helped to empower these women and narrow the gender inequality gap in their communities. We’re looking forward to reaching even more women in the coming years.”

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.