The latest impact report from Better Cotton shows significant reductions in pesticide and water use in India with regards to cotton production.

The 2023 India Impact Report shows a dramatic reduction in the use of pesticides and highly hazardous pesticides by Better Cotton farmers across India. Overall pesticide use reduced by 53% from the 2014-17 seasons – used as a three-season average – to the 2021/22 season.

Water usage for irrigation was reduced by 29% during the same time period and nitrogen application – which drives greenhouse gas emissions in cotton production when used excessively – decreased by 6% per hectare.

Costs for farmers per hectare (excluding land renting) decreased by 15.6% in the same time frame, driven by expense reductions for land preparation and fertiliser expenses. There has also been an increase in the number of women working for Better Cotton farms across India – in the 2022-23 cotton season more than 25% of field facilitators were women, compared to around 10% in the 2019-20 cotton season.

The 2023 India Impact Report serves to celebrate progress and identify development gaps, says the organisation.

“Since the first Better Cotton harvest in India in 2011, the country has been a pioneering force within the Better Cotton programme,” says CEO Alan McClay. “We’re buoyed by the results in this impact report, which demonstrate the environmental, social and economic benefits of Better Cotton production, and remain committed to driving further improvements at the farm level.”

The organisation’s network of farmers has expanded from tens of thousands to almost one million since its launch in India 12 years ago.