Organic Cotton Training Curriculum- India

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What is the Training Curriculum?

The Organic Cotton Training Curriculum is a publicly available web-based set of train the trainer courses on organic agronomic best practices. Developed over two years by OCA and FIBL, it is comprised of the best in training materials from across the sector, adapted to local Indian practice through consultation, translation, and pilot sessions, and with the support of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and funding by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).



It is the first organic cotton growers training package developed in over a decade and includes in-depth modules and activity guides to work alongside existing participatory training methods. Currently available in English, and soon Hindi, OCA will create further translation and adaptation to Pakistan and, eventually other organic cotton territories. Feedback from the initial rollout and updates will be incorporated into the latest versions.

How does the Training Curriculum work?

Launched in the summer of 2022, the train-the- trainer sessions organised by OCA were attended by hundreds of field staff from Implementing Partners and Farm Groups across the different regions of India. The field staff now incorporate these modules and activity guides, alongside their existing knowledge, during the field visits involving thousands of existing and in-conversion organic cotton farmers.

Additionally, OCA has created a dedicated online learning management platform and mobile App to provide virtual access to the curriculum. The Organic Cotton Training Curriculum is available to the organic cotton sector and public, containing a breadth of topics from seed to harvest, and is a great introduction to understanding the growing season cycle.

OCTC training modules

    • Module 1

    Introduction to Organic Farming and Organic Cotton

    Module 1 provides an overview of the challenges of cotton farming in India, difference between traditional and organic farming principles and an introduction to organic agriculture and certification.

    • Module 2

    Cotton Species, Cultivars and Seeds

    Delving into the different cotton species and varieties, this module explains the importance of finding suitable cultivars and quality seeds for organic cotton, as well as practices preventing GM contamination.

    • Module 3

    Land Preparation, Planting and Field Management

    This module covers the importance of healthy fertile soil, high in organic matter, field preparation involved and planting, as well as regenerative farming principles.

    • Module 4

    The Cotton Plant

    Module 4 gives an understanding of the cotton plant and its development stages. This will provide the knowledge of recognizing and correct labelling of plants parts and development stages.

    • Module 5

    Soil Fertility and Crop Nutrition

    Module 5 covers the importance of soil, soil fertility management, cotton crop nutrition requirements, overview of on-farm sources of nutrition and selected organic/mineral fertilizers used in organic farming. This will provide skills in composting and soil examination.

    • Module 6

    Pest and Disease Management

    The selection of suitable pest resistant cultivars is the focus of this module, in maintaining a healthy crop and protecting soil to prevent pests and also provides vital information on bio inputs.

    • Module 7

    Water Management

    Organic cotton water requirements are the focus of module 7, and include soil moisture conservation methods, water management and harvest with moisture conservation practices taught and demonstrated.

    • Module 8

    Crop Diversification

    Module 8 teaches the benefits of crop diversification, options in cotton production, guiding principles of crop rotation and the benefits of different crop families in rotation and intercropping.

    • Module 9

    Harvest and Post Harvest

    In module 9 we learn about extended picking practices, the problem of foreign fibre contamination, best practices for harvest and post-harvest handling by the farmer. Cotton quality parameters, yields and income with an overview of cotton buying and processing. Trainers learn skills in estimating yields, recognizing cotton contamination as well as best practices for harvest and handling.

    • Module 10

    Crop Calendar Summary

    Summarised in module 10 are the different training and activities that a farm project would undertake in the different phases of the cotton season. For farmers and trainers, this is beneficial for their overall planning.

    • Module 11

    Farm Business Management

    This module is all about improving business skills in organic farming. Planning the crops, revenue streams and costs of production at the start of the season can mitigate losses and ensure good earnings for farmers.

    • Module 12

    Group Certification

    Module 12 explains the basics of how group certification works; the role of the Internal Control System (ICS) and its operations as well as conversion requirements from traditional to organic farming systems.

Webinar Video

On November 30th 2022, we hosted a webinar dedicated to the recently launched Organic Cotton Training Curriculum, alongside agronomic experts FiBL and featuring OCA’s organic cotton implementing and training partners in India. Together we discussed the origins of the Curriculum, the first in ten years for the sector as well as its impact and potential.

We heard first-hand accounts of the positive impact from the train the trainer sessions which took place across regions of India during the summer months of 2022. We looked ahead to the potential of the Curriculum for thousands of in-conversion and organic cotton farmers, as the field teams now head out to the regions utilising the new training modules and field activity guides.

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