Dibella supporting organic cotton farmers with the procurement of genetically unmodified seeds
Bocholt, July 2019: With its range of hotel linen made from GOTS and Fairtrade certified organic cotton, Dibella is committed to the ecologically and socially responsible development of textile production in cotton-growing countries. In addition, the company is directly supporting farmers in India. Thus, it is actively helping cotton smallholders in Adilabad to overcome the challenges that they face. Currently, Dibella is providing upfront finance for the procurement of genetically unmodified seeds for high-quality organic cotton.
The onset of the monsoon season (June to September) marks the commencement of the cotton-farming year in India. Smallholders in the Adilabad cooperative, which grows organic cotton for the sustainably produced Dibella+ range, are tilling the soil to prepare for sowing. Under the organic farming rules they are required to plant genetically unmodified seeds. However, small family farms find it extremely difficult to procure these seeds as the market is dominated by genetically modified (GMO) product. In an effort to protect and secure the livelihoods of these farming families, Dibella is providing the cooperative with 25,000 euros to purchase tested, GMO-free seeds for growing environment-friendly organic cotton.
A scarce commodity: seeds for organic cotton
India is the world’s largest producer of conventional and organic cotton. The plants are cultivated free of any pesticides, while irrigation almost exclusively takes the form of natural precipitation. Given the high proportion of genetically modified plants, which according to Forum Bio- und Gentechnologie (Transgen, Aachen) accounted for 93 percent in 2016, unmodified seeds are difficult to obtain.
Aid with sustained benefits
Dibella is pursuing multiple goals by providing upfront finance for GMO-free seeds. For one thing, the families gain faster and more reliable access to the unmodified seeds, which in turn ensures them of a viable livelihood. For another, the company can cover its own steadily increasing demand for sustainably grown high-quality organic cotton for the Dibella+ range.
To ensure that the GMO-free seeds meet the high GOTS and Fairtrade requirements, they are checked again for purity after being purchased by the cooperative. This ensures that any contamination can be eliminated at an early stage.
Follow-up projects planned
Once the seeds have been sowed, the demanding cotton season begins for the cotton smallholders in Adilabad, posing various challenges for them. Under the guidance of Chetna Organic, Dibella is offering appropriate aid covering various aspects such as improved productivity, crop care, harvesting and advising the village communities on how to build up sustainable livelihoods.