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Organic cotton to fair trade fashion

A farmer's story: Ulysses

Ulysses has been an organic cotton farmer in Canete for nine years. His main reason for changing to organic methods was concern for his family and friends' health - as he explains, 'Now I hate even the smell of pesticides. I feel as though I've got a frog in my mouth.'

Since being given technical support by Practical Action and Oro Blanco, Ulysses' yields have increased and he believes that this year they will be as good as conventional cotton yields. His profits are also greater because Oro Blanco pays a good price for his crop and he spends less on chemicals. The natural manures and fertilisers he uses do not harm the soil and he knows that it will be fertile for the next sowing season. Sometimes chemicals sprayed on nearby farms drift on the wind, but Ulysses has planted barriers such as trees and elephant grass to protect his crops.

All of Ulysses' family believes in organic principles. His wife, Gregoria, has also attended training and runs the farm when he is away as he can't earn enough from his own land to be able to work on the farm full time. As she explains: 'I wasn't worried when we joined the scheme. I like the fact that what we produce is natural. We can even produce our own natural fertiliser.'

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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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