India Impact Report 2014-2023

India has been a pioneering force within the Better Cotton Programme since its first Better Cotton harvest in 2011. It’s the world’s second largest cotton-producing country and has the largest number of farmers participating in the Better Cotton Programme.

This report represents a new way of reporting on field-level data in a way that gives insights into our impact over time within a country. These country-level reports will replace the Impact Report/Farmer Results of previous years.

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India Impact Report, 2014-2023 – Executive Summary

India Impact Report, 2014-2023 – Executive Summary
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India Impact Report, 2014-2023 – Full Report

India Impact Report, 2014-2023 – Full Report

The results in this India Impact Report are impressive:

  • Pesticide use has decreased by 53% on Better Cotton Farms in India
  • Water usage for irrigation is down 29%
  • Farmers are saving money – their overall costs (excluding land rental) have reduced by 15.6%
  • Women represented 15.5% of our Field Facilitators in India in 2021/22 – an increase from 10% just two years prior

None of these results would be possible without the dedication and commitment of our partners in India.  

Despite this measurable progress, complex challenges remain and dedicated effort is needed to tackle them. Part of Better Cotton’s role is to highlight needs for improvement and where continued engagement can make a positive difference for the communities growing cotton in India.

  • Pesticide use in India has reduced by more than half over the last 8 years,. but farmers and workers directly apply the pesticides with sometimes little or no personal protective equipment, meaning even small quantities can have harmful health effects.       
  • Climate change is already affecting the reliability of rains; high temperatures are making harvesting and other fieldwork even more arduous.
  • The profitability indicator shows glimmers of hope, but we know more needs to be done to support sustainable livelihoods and gender equality in cotton production.
  • Most of this report is based on monitoring data, which does tell a compelling story. Monitoring data alone, however, cannot give us all needed insights into why a particular activity does or does not deliver the expected results or what some of the challenging or hidden barriers to change are. This is therefore a call for more investment in research – we know this report will raise questions and we welcome research partnerships to help answer those questions.

Better Cotton 2020 Impact Report

In December 2021, we published our first-ever Impact Report. In this year’s report, which is an evolution from previous ‘Farmer Results’ reports, we share the latest field-level data (from the 2019-20 cotton season) and evaluate how licensed Better Cotton Farmers in China, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkey performed on environmental, social, and economic criteria, compared to farmers who weren’t participating in the Better Cotton programme. They cover elements including the use of pesticides, fertilisers and water, as well as decent work, yields and profits. 

In addition to the Farmer Results section, the report also includes audio recordings of interviews with three Retailer and Brand Members about their sustainability sourcing efforts and consumer communications, as well as updates on important initiatives such as our traceability workstream and the revision of the Better Cotton Principles & Criteria.

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Better Cotton Farmer Results 2018-19

The data and analysis dives into the results achieved in six countries where the Better Cotton Standard System was implemented in the 2018-19 cotton season – China, India, Mali, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkey. The results show social, environmental and economic outcomes. Download the results results infographics here or click the image below to learn more about farmer successes and challenges in each Better Cotton programme country.

Better Cotton Farmer Results 2017-18

The 2017-18 data illustrates farmer results from five countries where the Better Cotton Standard System was implemented in the 2017-18 cotton season – China, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Turkey. The results show social, environmental and economic outcomes.

Better Cotton Farmer Results 2016-17

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Farmer Results 2016-17

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is committed to measuring sustainability improvements everywhere Better Cotton is produced and to evaluating the social, environmental and economic impact of the Better Cotton Standard System.

Better Cotton Farmer Results 2015-16

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Farmer Results 2015-16

Farm Results – BCI Farmers vs comparison farmers for 2015-16

Understanding Better Cotton Farmer Results

Data from all Better Cotton medium and large farms is collected. For smallholders, a sampling approach is used that includes the collection of data from a large representative sample of learning groups that are randomly selected by Better Cotton on a yearly basis at the end of the season.

Communicating Better Cotton Farmer Results

Farm results must not be manipulated in any way. Averaging farm results across different geographies undermines the credibility of the data. If you are a Member of Better Cotton and wish to use impact results to support your storytelling, please contact the Member Claims Team at [email protected], who will assist in crafting your Better Cotton story in a way that maintains the integrity of the data.