Cotton in conversion is the cotton fibre produced during the period where a conventional cotton farm transitions to organic cotton production. This process takes up to three years, in which farmers focus on soil health. The farmer follows organic farming practices during the conversion period, but the cotton fibre is not yet certified organic. Instead, the cotton harvested from the field during the transition period can be certified as cotton in conversion. The only difference between organic and in-conversion cotton is that the farm is in the transition period. The farmer follows the same farming requirements.
Read more about cotton in conversion
Demand is not the problem; there is plenty of it. And yet, only 1.4% of global cotton is certified organic, with only 0.5% growth in recent years. Why don't conventional cotton farmers 'just change' to organic?
As it turns out: it takes an awful lot of time, energy and money. For instance, it takes at least 3 years before a cotton farm can be certified organic. This period is essential to rebalance the devastated ecosystem and get the soil healthy again. Then there are the strict rules of organic farming, the high certification costs and they depend on the harvest for their livelihood. Logically, many farmers have doubts: they have to change their entire way of working and make huge investments. And that with no financial buffer and cut-throat competition.
In cooperation with our Turkish denim factory and partner Bossa, we help and encourage farmers to switch to organic cotton farming. During this three-year process, Bossa and Kuyichi offer financial security and the guaranteed purchase of their cotton crop. Meet Cengiz Karadeli, pictured here, our first conversion cotton farmer. His farm is in the Aydin region and the first cotton in transition was harvested from his field in October 2022. He is now in the second year of transition and we hope Cengiz's story will inspire other farmers in the region!
Read more about why farmers are struggling to make the switch.