Gujarat based NGO SEWA is adding concept of environment friendly cotton growing among the women member farmers. This will get them higher price for their crop.
Anything which can sound like environment friendly is in and gets premium. This mantra is well picked up by Ahmedabad based NGO, Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) to add niche to their Hansiba brand garments.
SEWA is encouraging the farmers of Surendranagar, Mehsana and Vadodara districts of Gujarat to grow coloured cotton instead of the white. A trial in three villages of these districts was taken under NGO’s guidance. The seeds of brown coloured cotton were given to 50 women members.
Sewa's trade felicitation centre (STFC) has plans of growing blue and green cotton as well. The garments spun from coloured cotton will also be sold under Sewa's Hansiba brand.
Coloured cotton is not a new concept. It has a history of centuries, but has got momentum now. The main advantage is that it gives freedom from using dyes and chemicals to colour the fabric. This also has other benefit of colour fastness which is an issue with white cotton dyed using synthetic colours.
SEWA members started experimenting with this idea about three years ago in a small village near Surendranagar. First trials were conducted with 40 grams seeds received from an organisation in Savarkundla. The cotton in the last season was grown on the three farms using organic farming technology. Organic cotton suppliers are very limited and such a fabric gets high premium in the international market.
After successfully testing the cotton for quality, STFC launched a special clothes collection called, Madhuli, for one of its fashion shows.
From this cotton yarn is hand spun and woven on the handlooms. Chemical free cotton fabric will be the USP of Hansiba Brand. For this brand Styling using different stitches and concept of designers from India and Britain is done at the centres of SEWA. The NGO is expecting higher returns through this to rural Gujarat.