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Organic cotton in Peru

Practical Action has been working with Oro Blanco, a local organisation, to help cotton farmers in Peru go organic. Practical Action trains the farmers in organic methods and provides technical help. Oro Blanco buys cotton from the farmers in advance, processes it and then sells it on to be made into clothes. As a fair trade organisation, it ensures that all employees – from farmers and labourers to processors and spinners – are treated fairly. The aim is for farmers to own one-third of the company’s shares and they are encouraged to set up their own small businesses spinning cotton and making garments.

At first, many of the farmers were anxious about changing to organic methods because yields (the amount of cotton they could grow on their land) fell without the help of chemicals. At the same time, costs rose because they had to employ people to look after the crop more, rather than simply spraying it once a fortnight to keep it pest-free.

However, many farmers have welcomed the organic scheme and are already reaping the benefits:

Organic Cotton in Peru case study



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

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