OCA is proud to announce the publication of the Organic Cotton Training Curriculum, a standardised Training of Trainers curriculum on organic agronomic best practices. Developed with FiBL (The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture) as the research partner, in consultation with OCA, its Implementing Partners and field teams, and other local experts, the curriculum will ensure robust training of trainers and the optimum transfer of knowledge to organic cotton farmers.
The newly launched curriculum is the first training package designed for organic cotton growers in over a decade. It includes in-depth modules and accompanying activity guides on a breadth of topics from seed to harvest. by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the curriculum will complement existing training materials.
The Organic Cotton Training Curriculum is publicly available to benefit the entire organic cotton sector and beyond. OCA has additionally invested in a Learning Management System Platform to support virtual training and easy access to the materials, directly online or via a mobile app, for field staff of its Implementing Partners. The curriculum has already been launched on the ground, during the initial roll out in the summer of 2022, at OCA’s train-the-trainer sessions. As a result, hundreds of field staff from Implementing Partners and Farm Groups across the different regions of India have been trained up.
Impact through collaboration
‘This is a curriculum for all our dedicated field staff who deliver round- the- year training and advisory support to the in-conversion and certified organic farmers across many states in India. It is unique in that it consolidates the most relevant topics and challenges that our field staff and farmers face on a day-to-day basis on crop management practices from the seed selection stage to post- harvest management. We are encouraged by the positive reception at field-level when the curriculum was piloted this summer. This is a key resource and milestone for OCA’s Programmes and the sector at large, and we are looking forward to building it out with further tools and including other geographies in the near future.’ Shankhamala Sen, Senior Programme Officer at OCA.
‘The Organic Cotton Training Curriculum is designed to reduce the gaps between scientific and practitioner communities. The curriculum will help develop the cotton-growing community’s capacities to produce more sustainably and work as a catalyst to fast-track the system’s transformation toward resilience.’ Dr. Amritbir Riar, Deputy leader of the Department of International Cooperation, FiBL
‘This initiative is the first step towards enriching the skilled extension workers in each corner of the country. The curriculum is unique in that is has specific characteristics like; flexible in time and location, easily accessible, and a single click takes you into the world of knowledge. In the long term, this platform will be expanded with leading farmers and community leaders.’ Hetal Shah, Director at Amiha Agro, India
‘In the smallholder farmer context today, Field Facilitator and Farmer training remains one of the largest and surprising gaps in organic production. With focus only on GMOs and pesticides, farmers and in fact the trade have forgotten the holistic and sustainable nature of organic philosophy. In fact farmers view organic not as a solution to restore balance but rather an additional burden to deliver GM and pesticide free products. OCA’s OCTC and the related Train the Trainer Sessions are the 1st concrete step in taking organic farm production from a ‘checkmark’ based program to one that delivers impact at farm level. A much needed intervention at the most required moment.’ Amit Shah, CEO, Spectrum
More local adaptations planned for 2023
While the curriculum is available in English and Hindi for the initial roll out across India, we will further work on translations to local languages and adapt the modules for Pakistan, where OCA has recently started its Farm Programme. More geographies will follow.
OCA and FIBL plan to regularly update and improve the modules, activity guides and curriculum guidelines using feedback from farmers, field staff, farm groups and other experts to ensure the latest advancements and innovations in agronomic practices are captured in the curriculum.
We invite all organisations within the organic and sustainable cotton sector to use the materials to drive change on the ground, giving in-conversion and existing organic cotton farmers the skills to ultimately become more resilient and self-sufficient while optimising the potential of their land and crops.
Read more and download the Organic Cotton Training Curriculum
OCA will host a public webinar on the Organic Cotton Training Curriculum – Impact and Potential, on 30 November 10.00 CET, registration link.