Setting a landmark for the IDH Cotton program – the Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund (Better Cotton GIF or the Fund) in India has reached out to over a million farmers in India in 2019-20*. The Fund has been designed to support the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) in its goal of reaching five million farmers in key cotton-producing countries and have Better Cotton account for 30% of global cotton production by 2020. The farmer outreach in India in the current season is an important milestone towards this goal.
India has a high number of smallholder farmers with limited support. This makes the country crucial to achieving BCI’s 2020 Better Cotton goals. However, these farmers constantly deal with pest and irrigation-related issues and are highly vulnerable to climate variations that are beyond their control.
To meet these challenges, the Fund is working with 18 Implementing Partners on 26 projects across the country. These projects address vital sustainability issues in the cotton farming in the country such as pesticide use, water efficiency, and working conditions including child labor and gender inequities, which align with the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development.
India accounts for about 55 percent of the total Better Cotton GIF portfolio in terms of farmer numbers and fund allocation. Through the IPs, the Fund will cover 1.5 million hectares and is expected to result in almost 1.2 million MT of Better cotton production in 2019-20*. Going forward, India will continue to be an important region for the Fund in terms of reaching out to more farmers and further increasing Better Cotton production in the country.
IDH is a strategic partner to the Better Cotton GIF and plays multiple roles as a strategic partner, fund manager, funder, and partner for delivering innovations within the Fund.
* The figures presented are 2019-20 season estimates. BCI will publish final season figures once the 2019-20 cotton season is complete.