Kala Cotton: A Sustainable Alternative


Further to the Brundtland Report, Our Common Future (1987) this paper extends the model of sustainable practices of 'interconnecting people, processes and environment' (Hethorn and Ulasewicz 2008) to cotton-growing farmer community and users of cotton among organizations Indian designers. Presently, 96% of India's cotton cultivation is under Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton crops, the first genetically modified crop to be approved for cultivation in India in 2002. While introduction of Bt cotton led to a dramatic increase in production across cotton producing states, there have also been controversies regarding allegations of spurring farmer suicides in the country, thereby pointing to unsustainability of these genetically modified seeds. The greatest sustainability challenges for cotton cultivation are to reduce pesticides, fertilizers and water use while promoting better working conditions and financial returns for farmers. Organic cotton cultivation is a system that does not use synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, growth regulators or defoliants. Kala cotton is an indigenous, organic, rain-fed crop growing in eastern Kutch, Gujarat. This species of cotton offers obvious benefits including healthier soil quality and place less demand on the scarce water resources. In order to explore the possibilities of Kala cotton, some non-government organizations (NGOs) are engaging with farmers to research about the crop to facilitate collaborations with weavers. Some fashion designers, online crafts and even a large textile mill are using Kala cotton for fashion apparel. Through survey and interviews of a sustainable fashion designer and an NGO, this paper discusses the resurgence of Kala cotton.

Author Information
Banhi Jha, National Institute of Fashion Technology, India

Paper Information
Conference: ACSEE2018
Stream: Environmental Sustainability & Environmental Management: Atmosphere and Air

This paper is part of the ACSEE2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon