Low-cost apparel retail group Primark has released details of the progress made as a result of the Sustainable Cotton Programme it runs in India.
The project was set up in 2013 in partnership with agricultural experts CottonConnect, and the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). It aims to help women generate income and improve their livelihoods by training them in sustainable farming methods.
Primark said the results of the programme demonstrate that long-term investment in female cotton farmers can deliver “significant results” for the women, their families and the local community.
In 2016, the female farmers involved saw an average profit increase of 247% and a reduction of costs by 19.2%. This was due to a reduction in chemical pesticide and fertiliser usage, buying seeds collectively with other farmers, and lower additional labour costs. It also saw a 10% drop in water usage, showing that the sustainable water efficiency practices being used are effective.
A total of 1.251 farmers have participated in the programme during its first three years. Primark has announced that that it will be extended to reach a further 10,000 farmers over a six-year period.