oca platform

What is the OCA Platform?

When organisations join OCA, they become Contributors and part of the OCA Platform, which unites the key players in the organic cotton supply chain around a common mission. Together, we can challenge ‘business as usual’, empowering farmers, increasing global organic cotton supply and providing a roadmap for systemic change.

By working with OCA, our Contributors ensure supply security, transparency and impact. It gives them access to a network that helps them achieve their sustainability goals while contributing to reinventing the cotton industry for good. But that’s just the beginning. As we expand the organic cotton sector, we will continue to call on all players, collaborating to future-proof our industry.

Reasons to join us

OCA Contributors share our belief in the Organic Cotton Effect, and they know that for organic cotton to deliver positive impact at scale, we need to shift from competitive advantage to a common agenda and from individual action to collective investment. This is why you should join them:

Move the Market

Join a community of engaged pioneers across the entire value chain from field to fashion. All Contributors are dedicated to building a healthy and resilient organic cotton sector.

Inspiring Insights

Access marketing intelligence from our programmes that will provide you with valuable insights to improve your in-house performance and innovation.

Support Innovation

Invest in collaborative efforts to develop the latest innovations in sustainable organic cotton sourcing and traceability.

Best Practices

Gain valuable insights from diverse stakeholders as they share their best practices and learnings in our webinars and workshops.

Set the Agenda

Shape the sector agenda with other Contributors and strengthen your storytelling on your sustainability efforts with validated impact data.

Invest in Farmers

Support better livelihoods and working conditions for organic cotton farmers and farm workers.

Meet our Contributors

Founding Partners


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Partner with us

To truly unleash organic cotton’s potential for positive impact, we need a united sector. Join us in our mission to deliver positive change to farmers, brands and customers who want to know their purchases are backing a fair and sustainable industry.

    What is the Farm Programme?

    When we established the Farm Programme, the reward – and therefore, incentive – for cotton farmers to pursue organic techniques was limited, and important inputs like non-genetically modified seeds were difficult to procure. Our model challenges these hurdles and provides tangible solutions. We offer cotton farmers access to the tools, expertise, and support they need to grow organic cotton while galvanising commitments from buyers to secure fair prices and offtake to organic cotton farmers.

    In turn, brands and retailers receive a secure supply of organic fibre from one of our verified farm groups, price clarity, and externally validated data about the impact of the premium they paid to the farmers. 

    To grow the organic cotton sector and guarantee future supply we need more farmers to make the switch to organic. We facilitate that journey for them. By supporting our cotton farmers and empowering them to switch to and stick with organic farming methods, we strengthen and expand the sector and in turn, safeguard the planet and its resources.

    By offering brands and retailers the chance to invest in the next generation of organic cotton, we are also accelerating the path to in-conversion and supporting this much-needed transition.

    Validated impact across the sector

    We are redesigning how brands, retailers, and the supply chain source their organic cotton while transforming the lives of the cotton farmers producing it.

    Our Farmer-First Commitment

    We support farmers from seed to sale. Our direct-to-farm sourcing model provides organic cotton farmers with market access, demand security, better wages, access to nonGM seed and hands-on training.

    Supply Chains You Trust

    Navigating the organic cotton marketplace can be tough. We offer support to develop farm projects in your own supply chains and operational transparency through validated and customised impact data.

    Guaranteeing Lint Since 2016

    Lint offtake commitments are made early in the season so brands and retailers can secure organic fibre from our verified farm groups. These commitments also encourage farmers to invest in organic produce and processes.

    Numbers You Can Trust

    Farm Programme partners receive third-party validated data that demonstrates the impact of supporting organic cotton farmers with training, access to organic inputs, a premium payment, and secure offtake.

    Locals Know Best

    Brands, retailers, and farmers receive tailored, local support from our regional teams for project implementation and measurement.

    A ripple effect of positivity

    The Farm Programme is a key tool for delivering the Organic Cotton Effect: the ripple effect of positivity that occurs every time a farmer switches to organic cotton: farmers earn more and their land and soils are fertile for future generations, protecting our planet.

    Where we are active

    The Farm Programme has live projects in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan in India and Balochistan in Pakistan.

    • OCA Locations
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    What is the Seed Programme?

    Seed forms the starting point of all agricultural value chains, so the true origin of an organic cotton t-shirt is organic cottonseed. If farmers can’t access a diversity of locally adapted organic cottonseed, there won’t be any organic T-shirts for consumers.

    Since 2017, our Seed Programme has been investing in boosting the development, commercial release, and production of non-GM and organic cultivars around the world. Driven by a sector-approved strategy and clear progress metrics, we’ve led research and cultivar development to support the uptake of organic agriculture by more farmers.

    We partner with seed producers to strengthen the purity of non-genetically engineered seed marketed to farmers using our standardised industry approach. This ensures that the organic cotton farmers in our Farm Programme receive reliable cottonseed that improves the integrity of the value chain, from seed to shirt.

    OCA also provides the joint largest investment in the development of cotton cultivars adapted for organic agriculture. Our seed trial network provides farming organisations with the tools to decide which seed cultivars to plant and boost cultivar adoption by farmers while providing cotton breeders and seed producers with the feedback and incentives they need to develop locally adapted seed.


    Key Milestones

    We are committed to improving the global availability, accessibility and genetic diversity of non-GM cottonseed for all organic cotton farmers.
    Here’s what we have achieved so far:

    growing organic cotton

    1. Safeguarding integrity from the start

    In countries where GM cotton is allowed for cultivation, it’s necessary to enable access to reliable Non-GM seed, but this can’t happen without regulated processes preventing accidental GMO presence right at the start of the organic cotton supply chain.

    OCA’s Non-GM Production Guidelines

    We’ve partnered with sector experts to develop OCA’s Non-GM Cottonseed Production Guidelines which help seed producers monitor and prevent GMO presence in different contexts and countries, from early breeding stages up to the final production, processing, and packaging of planting seed. These guidelines are now available upon request.

    On-ground implementation

    With the support of our experts, we are helping Indian seed producers implement these guidelines and verify their compliance to these best practices using second-party verification audits. Participating seed producers can differentiate themselves in the marketplace, while farm groups can feel confident when sourcing reliable non-GM seed for their organic cotton.

    1. 2. Supporting organic cottonseed availability

    The seed cultivar chosen by organic cotton farmers significantly impacts productivity and economic gains and is key to the farmer’s business case for organic. As organic farming conditions are not artificially buffered through synthetic inputs, farmers must be able to access the right quality and type of seed aligned to their local environment and way of farming.

    Largest joint investment

    OCA provides the largest joint investment in the participatory development of cotton cultivars suitable for organic agriculture by supporting FiBL’s Seeding the Green Future Programme. This programme also collects seed performance data that assists farmers and farming groups in their seed procurement decisions.


    Enabling cultivar trialing

    OCA will engage its network of Farm Partners in a joint seed cultivar trial network in the 2022/23 season. Cultivar trialing and the sharing of seed performance data across farm groups will help them choose, which seed cultivars to plant while also providing breeders and seed producers the proper incentives to develop locally adapted seed.

    3. Easier access to non-GM cottonseed

    Even when suitable cotton varieties are identified by organic cotton farmers, they are not always accessible for farmers at local seed dealers/retailers. This is especially true in countries where GM cotton is approved for cultivation and strongly dominates the market. In such cases, farmer access to seed needs to be facilitated.

    Direct support and distribution

    OCA’s Farm Programme provides direct support to organic cotton farmers to access good quality organic cottonseed. Our Implementing Partners procure and distribute non-GM cottonseed to organic farmers after testing them for GMO presence. We want to support farmers switching to or sticking with organic farming, and providing access to organic cottonseed is a critical first step on that journey.

    Organic cultivar adoption

    We are continuously boosting non-GM / organic cultivar adoption by farmers through on-farm seed trialing and demo farms with lead farmers so that they can see seed performance with their own eyes. Inputs are provided for free or at subsidised costs.

    organic cotton accelerator

    4. Maximising genetic diversity

    Seed is the carrier of genetic diversity. That means; the diversity in genetic resources, both across and within cotton species, is stored in tiny seeds. Diversity in cotton genetic resources is essential for plant breeders to develop improved seed varieties that not only perform well but are also resilient to pests, diseases, and climate change.

    Investing in breeding programmes

    Through our investments in FiBL’s participatory breeding programme, OCA invests in new cultivar development from indigenous (Desi) species like Gossypium arboreum. Leveraging the genetic diversity available in India’s public seed banks, these cultivars are improved to meet the minimum fibre length required by the cotton industry. Beyond the need to preserve this indigenous species, arboreum desi cotton provides several advantages:

    The advantages
    • The cultivars are diploid and, therefore, GMOs cannot contaminate them.
    • They naturally tolerate pests and environmental stresses.
    • They have a higher ginning outturn.

    By leveraging our relationship with farm groups and brands, OCA will work to foster the adoption of Desi cotton from the organic cotton value chain, from farmer to brand.

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    in-conversion cotton

    What is the Innovation Programme?

    Our Innovation Programme is an incubator that develops and tests solutions that enable a healthy and resilient organic cotton sector. From research, to traceability innovations, and industry standards, we accelerate access to tools that ensure organic agriculture can be truly regenerative. Once proven, these innovations are rolled out in the OCA Farm Programme at scale, ensuring that programme’s continuous improvement. In this way we’re able to provide sector partners with best practices and challenges to help accelerate the organic cotton movement.

    Key Milestones

    OCA’s Innovation Programme aims to accelerate access to tools that enable a healthy and resilient organic cotton sector. Here’s what we have achieved so far:

    Improving Integrity

    To confidently make organic cotton claims, the industry needs reliable screening that boosts credibility. In partnership with Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) and Textile Exchange, we developed a global testing protocol ISO/ IWA 32: 2019 to detect the presence of genetically modified organisms in organic cotton.

    Testing Traceability

    Finding reliable traceability solutions can make or break the industry. We participated in the Organic Cotton Traceability Pilot, which tested a blockchain-powered farmer-to-consumer traceability system and we’ve established the Textiles Traceability Task Force to further explore traceability solutions for the organic sector.

    Digging Deep for Data

    In collaboration with partner sustainable cotton standards, programmes and codes in Cotton 2040, we are developing a common impact indicator set for cotton farming systems. This will help brands and retailers to confidently track, optimise and communicate the impact of their sustainable cotton sourcing decisions.

    Cashing in on Crops

    OCA led a research project to identify the best crop diversification practices to optimise the agronomic, environmental and economic benefits for Indian organic cotton farmers. Supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the research project partnered OCA with the Research Institute of Agriculture (FiBL).

    Training the Trainers

    We are investing in new training curriculums for organic cotton farmers and trainers to support their knowledge development. The Organic Cotton Training Curriculum, developed in collaboration with the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL and with funding support from GIZ will be released in 2022.

    Connecting Communities

    In order for the organic cotton movement to flourish we need engaged farmers. We invest in and unite farm groups in an open community where they empower each other to develop and share agricultural knowledge, innovations, and best practices, using participatory approaches.

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