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Organic Cotton Project Guide

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Organic Cotton Project Guide


The aim of this guide is to support organizers of organic cotton projects1 in designing and setting up organic cotton production with smallholders, or in re-thinking existing projects. Recognizing that there are many possible ways and approaches in doing this, the guide wants to stimulate reflection and provide ideas rather than giving final answers and prescriptions. The guide does not deal with the processing of the cotton fibre and the trade of cotton products. To a large extent, the guide builds on an in-depth research project on organic cotton that the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) implemented on behalf of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Focus of this research was the Maikaal bioRe project in central India, one of the oldest and largest organic cotton projects worldwide. In addition, we have included lessons learnt from other organic cotton projects in India, Mali, Tanzania, Benin and Kyrgyzstan that we have either visited and interviewed, or explored with the help of a questionnaire. We are aware that approaches which have worked in one setting might not work in another setting. Designs and solutions to problems need to match the specific socio-economic conditions of the project area, and need to be developed by the involved stakeholders themselves. The quality of the process of doing this is likely to be at least as important for the success of the initiative as the final design. The guide therefore addresses important issues and project elements in the order as they are likely to emerge within a project development process. It describes the aspects, provides examples and points out alternative design options. It can not take away from the organizers the burden of deciding which of these (or other) options are most suitable in a specific setting. At the end of each chapter, a box with questions is intended to stimulate project organizers to think about and make decisions on crucial issues. In this way, the guide leads the reader through the single steps in setting up an organic cotton smallholder project as depicted in the flow chart in Annex 1.1. Annexes: 1.1 Steps in setting up an organic cotton project (flow chart) 1.2 Useful documents / web sites

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