About the Project
Given the importance of Indian cotton production in global supply chains for cotton, CUTS (Consumer Unity & Trust Society) will act as a consultant mapping cotton provisioning chains and regulatory frames of cotton production in India, with a special reference to environmental sustainability issues. The project will analyse cotton production practices, sustainable production alternatives and their usefulness and availability. It will subtly explore regulatory framework for cotton production in India along with regulatory demands from European importers, including an analysis of private regulations/standards.
The principal objective of this study is to understand and promote environmental sustainability practices in the entire cotton value chain. Cotton production not only requires huge amount of water but also heavy amount of world’s pesticides. In fact, 50 percent of pesticides used in India go for cotton cultivation, despite the fact that cotton occupies only 5 percent of the total cultivable land. Furthermore, toxic dyestuffs are used in the textile and clothing manufacturing sector. Their applications in fabric finishing have polluted air, soil, and surface water greatly. Hence, major environmental sustainability issues are there in the entire cotton value chain
Thus, this research aims to analyse environmental impact of cotton production in India. It aims to ascertain stakeholders’ awareness toward environmental sustainability practices. It seeks to examine how domestic policies have contributed/strengthened the environmental sustainability of cotton production in India. Based upon empirical findings, the research seeks to recommend policies for promoting sustainable environmental practices in the cotton value chain.
This two-and-a-half-year study will be done by desk research (literature review and secondary data analysis) and field research (analysis of quantitative and qualitative data/ other information) primarily in three villages (in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan) and associated cotton value chain.
CUTS Centre For International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS CITEE)
D–217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park,
Jaipur 302 016, India
Norwegian Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO)
SIFO, National Institute for Consumer Research
Address: Postboks 4682 Nydalen, 0405
- Cotton, the principal cash crop grown in India, contributes significantly to the country’s economy. Cotton and textiles account for 45 percent of all exports from India to the EU (WWF, 2007). Approximately, 60 million people depend upon cotton production and related industries for their livelihoods. In fact, India has the largest area, which is approximately 90 million hectares under cotton cultivation.
- Nevertheless, the sector is far behind in terms of productivity as Indian cotton sector faces major drawbacks with regard to sustainable production issues. Water is extensively required for cotton cultivation. Unfortunately, cotton farmers in India heavily rely on rain-fed cultivation. And this accounts for 70 percent of the total cotton cultivation area. Had there been a substantial irrigation facility for cotton cultivation, not only cotton production but also its productivity would have increased significantly. Due to erratic rainfall patterns, cotton farmers in India have suffered economic losses from time and again.
- Besides precipitation, pest infestation has had a tremendous effect upon cotton cultivation in India. Bollworm and sucking pests have devastated cotton crops for years. Approximately 50 percent of pesticides used in India go for cotton cultivation, despite the fact that cotton occupies only 5 percent of the total cultivable land (WWF, 2010). But unfortunately, part of pesticides drain into freshwater systems. This has severely affected clean water availability.
- Furthermore, cotton farmers in India use pesticides in cotton production fields without undertaking precautionary measures. Consequently, there have been cases of severe pesticides poisoning.
- And extensive withdrawal of underground water for irrigation and especially for cotton cultivation has resulted into water scarcity. This is mainly due to intense drilling of boreholes.
- Most alarmingly, toxic dyestuffs are used in textiles and clothing manufacturing sector. Substantial amount of water and energy are required both in the production of dyestuffs and during its application on cotton printing and dyeing. These activities have resulted into air and water pollution (Pan et al. 2008).
- Hence, this project will focus on cotton value chain and its regulatory framework in India with a special reference to environmental sustainability issues. It will subtly explore the structure of the cotton provisioning chain in India and its connections with European markets. It will delve into environmental regulatory framework for the cotton value chain. Among others, the project will seek to analyze how domestic policies have contributed the environmental sustainability of cotton cultivation and use in India.
- To raise awareness among stakeholders in cotton value chain regarding environmental sustainability issues
- To analyse how domestic polices have contributed environmental sustainability of cotton production and use in India
- To understand cotton production practices, sustainable production alternatives and their usefulness and availability
- To provide recommendations to policymakers for enhancing environmental sustainability practices in the cotton value chain
- To provide recommendations to policymakers with regard to environmental regulatory framework in the cotton value chain
- Briefing papers based on literature review, survey analysis, and empirical studies done through the project
- Survey reports based on field study in three villages (in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan) summarizing stakeholders perceptions
- Final report on the structure of the cotton provisioning chain in India and connections with European markets along with environmental regulatory framework for cotton production in India. It will contain findings of the project and will suggest the way forward.
- Cotton Production and Environmental Sustainability in India
- This study will be done by desk research (literature review and secondary data analysis) and field research (analysis of quantitative and qualitative data/other information) in three major cotton producing states of India (viz. Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan) and associated cotton value chain.
- A sample of small, medium, and big farmers will be selected from these villages. Sampling of the rest of the value chain will be done after collecting data from cotton farmers.