RESET – Regenerate the Environment, Society, and Economy through Textiles
Project RESET aims to mitigate environmental and social issues caused by conventional farming techniques, which is based on pesticides and labor exploitation. These issues affect poor cotton farming communities in south India and across the globe, particularly among women farmers. RESET focuses its effort on working with women cotton farmers for two reasons: 1) women are considered to be the most vulnerable group that needs extra protection and 2) women carry out the majority of farming duties, so are the ones who are most affected by the problem.
Regenerative organic cotton farming is the base of the RESET programme, which works towards banning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), a process through which crop DNA is altered, rendering the produce carcinogenic for our body. Regenerative is more than today’s simple process of organic production. Regenerative not just protects, but also regenerates the environment and the socio-economic fabric of the farming communities previously polluted by conventional farming.
GVK works with local partners and farmer groups by financially and logistically supporting farmers who want to switch from conventional farming to a regenerative-organic one. We work with farmers with initial investments, provide initial training on new methods and tools, connect them with markets and provide overall crop support.
We have expanded from one working with 42 farmers in 2017-2018 to working with 250 farmers in 2018-2019 and from 46 acres to 249 acres. We expanded from 5 villages to now working in a total of 26 villages. In 2017-2018 we paid 49 rupees per kilo of cotton to farmers against the market price of 44 rupees per kilo, fetching them a premium of 11%. We found out that some farmers in Polamvalasa hamlet of Vizianagram district were paid 28 rupees per kilo. It is this sort of exploitation of the poorest of the poor that we want to eliminate. We have seen up to 70% of decrease in farm inputs. Where the cost of cultivation for conventional cotton farming is 14.000 to 17.000 rupees per acre with the costs of pesticides and fertilizers, our farmers pay around 4200. We have also seen a better health and a better productivity of farmers.
Our aim for the next 5 years is to:
Double the income of 15,000 farmers
Reduce the cost of cultivation by 50%
Increase on-farm efficiency and yields by 25%
Ensure 10% higher premiums from organic & regenerative certifications
Open up 5% higher profits with rotation crops like pulses
Convert 62,500 acres of cotton from degenerative to regenerative production systems in 5 years
Sequester 80-160 MT carbon*
Remove 337,500 kgs of toxic pesticides
Eliminate GMOs from 62,500 acres