In 2011 CottonConnect and the John Lewis Foundation began working together to deliver a Sustainable Cotton programme in Gujarat, India. The programme realised the potential of smallholder cotton farmers through economically viable, environmentally sustainable, and socially acceptable production principles. A total of 1,500 farmers were trained over a three year period, positively affecting the lives, livelihoods and employment of around 7,500 people on these farms.
A second cooperative initiative began in 2014 - the Compost Pit Project - designed for farmers who had completed the previous sustainable cotton initiative The programme ran for two years and achieved the following outcomes:
Increased community awareness of broad sustainability issues in the production of cotton, particularly the importance and benefits of composting for soil health and increased water retaining capacity.
Improved livelihood of cotton farmers and their families by helping to reduce their production costs by up to 25% over the project period.
Increased the quantities of cotton stalks composted for use as farmyard manure by 20%, and decrease the amount of organic cotton stock waste burnt by 20%.
The creation of 250 compost pits each year for three years to a total of 750 pits by 2016.