Kering and Conservation International have announced that OCA is one of seven grantees under their Regenerative Fund for Nature following its launch in January 2021. The funding is designed to drive the transition of 1 million hectares of land to regenerative practices in textile supply chains through promising and innovative projects.

OCA’s application was assessed based on alignment with the Fund’s objectives, key environmental indicators, opportunities to scale the regenerative programs and game-changer potential. From a total of 73 entries across many continents, seven were selected as recipients of the Regenerative Fund for Nature grant.

The judges hailed OCA’s efforts, stating: “This project stands out for its focus on both environmental outcomes and strong market linkages, engagement of 50,000 smallholder farmers as well as OCA’s model which helps de-risk change on the ground through payments to farmers at the beginning of the season.”

OCA will use this grant to empower farmers in taking the first step of transitioning to organic agriculture, a process that can take up to 36 months. In collaboration with our Implementing Partners, the transition or in-conversion period will encompass the provision of training and inputs, as well as sharing very clear evidence on the benefits of shifting to organic. Continued investment for in-conversion projects is critical to meet the rising demand for organic cotton that we are witnessing worldwide.

In addition, the grant will also be used to work with already organic-certified farmers to help them maximise organic agricultural regenerative practices. The project will use the proven model from OCA’s Farm Programme and gradually increase over time, targeting at least 50,000 farmers. The project will focus on the payment of farmer premiums at the beginning of the planting season, which will alleviate some of the initial costs as well as securing their crops. Quality technical services to farmers, which has helped OCA establish a business case for certified organic farmers year after year, will also be provided.

I am very happy that OCA has been awarded the Regenerative Fund for Nature grant. It really reflects our hard work and our continuous efforts to make impactful improvements in our Farm Programme. This grant will drive the much needed acceleration of in-conversion projects, allowing more farmers to make the transition from conventional to organic cotton farming with confidence and support. The grant will fund our training and development projects jointly with our farm group partners, focused on organic agricultural regenerative practices, empowering farmers to be self-sufficient.

– Bart Vollaard, Executive Director, OCA.

OCA aims to reach up to 50,000 small holder farmers covering over 53,500 hectares of land in the three-year project. The grant will boost OCA’s farmer-first initiatives through pre-payment models, knowledge sharing and guidance, and engaging farmers and communities in the move towards organic and regenerative practices.

To read more about the Regenerative Fund for Nature click here.