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Fashion for Good launches cotton farming pilot project

Swatches | May 1, 2021 | By:

A hydroponic cotton facility. Materra’s approach to cotton farming combines precision agriculture and controlled environments to create radically resource-efficient cotton farms. Photo: Materra.

Cotton makes up nearly 30 percent of global textile production, and accounts for 24 percent of global insecticide use, according to Fashion for Good, a global initiative to spark and scale innovation in the fashion industry. Being a water-intensive crop, an individual cotton plant can require 10 gallons of water to maximize its yield. Innovations in cotton farming practices are greatly needed to reduce pesticide, land and water use.

Fashion for Good has launched a two-year pilot project in collaboration with leading brands Kering and PVH Corp. and global textile manufacturer Arvind Ltd. that will explore resource-efficient cotton farming technology provided by Materra (formerly hydroCotton). Materra’s innovative combination of precision agriculture, environmental control and real-time data tracking facilitates resilience for cotton farming in developing regions where climate and resources prove challenging.

The aim of the project is to test a farming approach in the Gujarat cotton-growing region in India, where there are limited solutions for successful pest control and where farmers have had limited success in growing extra-long staple cotton, which is often used in more high-end products. More than 60 percent of the world’s cotton is produced by small cotton farmers, around 90 percent of these estimated 100 million farmers live in developing countries and grow the crop on less than two hectares. 

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