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T-shirts made of organic cotton from Andhra a big hit in Belgium

‘It ensures 30% additional income for tribal farmers of North Andhra’

July 23, 2019 11:40 pm | Updated July 24, 2019 12:21 pm IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

Cotton being grown by tribals near Ramabhadrapuram in Vizianagaram district.

Cotton being grown by tribals near Ramabhadrapuram in Vizianagaram district.

T-shirts made from organic cotton cultivated by tribals of North Andhra are now becoming extremely popular among music lovers in Belgium.

As many as 30,000 T-shirts made with the cotton in the garment factories based at Tirupur and Coimbatore are now used by the 8,000 participants in one of the biggest electronic dance music festivals ( www.tomorrowland.com ) organised by Tomorrowland in Belgium from July 19 to 29.

The Tomorrowland team, on account of celebrating their 15th anniversary, aspires to send out a powerful message by opting for sustainable T-shirts for their crew members. RESET, a futuristic innovation by Grameena Vikas Kendram, an NGO, has partnered with Urban Fibres, Belgium, to make this a reality.

The cotton was raised in 26 villages under Pachipenta, Kurupam and Gummalakshmipuram in Vizianagaram district and Bhamini of Srikakulam district by the tribals. In all 18, tonnes of cotton was collected from the 230 farmers by cultivating it in 250 acres. The yield would have been much more but for the heavy devastation caused by Cyclone Titli in October last year.

The project was taken up under Regenerate the Environment Society and Economy through Textiles (RESET). The regenerative cotton was produced using climate resilient techniques and carbon farming. The entire RESET ecosystem with farmers, ginner, spinner, knitter, dyer and garment workers, all located in India, have taken the utmost care at every step of the task.

‘Proud moment’

“It’s a proud moment for us to sell 30.000 sustainable crew T-shirts for one of world’s largest music festivals by assuring 30% additional income for the tribal cotton growers of Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts,” Sarat Gidda, vice-president of the NGO, told The Hindu .

Before taking up the project, the farmers were convinced not to use chemical pesticides and herbicides and synthetic fertilisers. The unisex model T-shirts were made with carefully chosen fabric and print dyes that are not harmful to humans and the eco-system, he pointed out.

‘Aiming high’

The NGO is firm in involving more farmers to set out to achieve astronomical figures of 62,500 acres and 15,000 farmers in the coming five years. Through RESET, it has plans to take up organic cotton cultivation in Kadapa of Andhra Pradesh and Warangal of Telangana during the current year. “Our aim is to create the world’s first regenerative cotton value chain by imbibing the principles of ethical production and calling for conscious consumption, seriatim setting in motion, a self-sustaining system,” he stated.

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