When social entrepreneurs Aneel Kumar Ambavaram and Sarat Gidda from Andhra Pradesh came together, little did they know that their collaboration would positively affect 50 farmers from Warangal. Today, the duo stand tall in their fully organic village Enabavi in Andhra Pradesh that has successfully sold 40,000 organic t-shirts.
Aneel and Sarat have founded the Grameena Vikas Kendram Society for Rural Development (GVKSRD) that procures cotton produce from local farmers and processes it in Tiruppur. Their initiative is encouraging 3,000 cotton farmers across the state to adapt to organic farming, says The Hindu. The founders started their project by roping in 50 farmers from Kothavalasa and Chinatalapadu—two neighbouring villages in Vizianagaram district. Along with few experts in organic farming, they are touring the nearby villages, educating and offering jobs to the villagers.
The organisation has so far sold t-shirts in Netherlands. 'T For Change', a local company sold their t-shirts twice on the eve of a national day, says The Hindu. Apart from this, a firm in the U.S. is on the verge of signing a deal to buy the cotton lint produced by these farmers. Few other European countries have also expressed interest in the last few days.
Due to this increasing interest, T. Vijay Kumar, Adviser (Agriculture and Cooperation Department) to Government- Andhra Pradesh, has assured them support if they show considerable results. Sarat, the founder, says,
Organic farming not only helps farmers get rid of the impact of pesticides and other chemicals but also reduces the amount of water needed. A conventional cotton t-shirt needs about 3,000 litres whereas the organic t-shirt needs only 300 litres. The immediate benefit for farmers would be a reduction in expenditure. Usually, they spend Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 per acre, but now they have only invested around Rs 5,000 per acre.
Speaking about the yield in the first year, he adds that due to the non-adaptability of organic seeds in a soil used to chemicals, the yield will be 40 percent less in the first year. This, however, will gradually decrease and become normal after three years, he adds.
For the current year, the Cotton Association of India is estimating a bigger crop than last year at 341 lakh bales, considering the steep increase in yields and the market price of cotton, says the Hindu Business line.