To coincide with International Women’s Day, Primark is announcing a six-year extension of the Primark Sustainable Cotton Programme. The initiative is a partnership with CottonConnect and the Self-Employed Women’s Association, a joint effort to support women in the traditionally male-dominated farming communities in Gujarat, India.
Through the Programme, sustainable farming methods are introduced, improving cotton yields and increasing incomes. The initial three-year pilot effort trained 1,251 women smallholders, resulting in an average profit increase of 211%, due to a yield increase of 12.6%. Over the next six years, a projected 10,000 female farmers will be enrolled in the programme.
A number of studies have revealed that agricultural programmes which effectively involve women can significantly increase cotton production and trigger transformative societal benefits. Increased profits are usually used to improve household welfare and to invest in education for children.
The United Nations estimates that closing the gender gap in agriculture globally would generate significant gains for the agriculture sector and for society. If women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20 to 30 per cent. A study by the Global Development Institute in 2013 found that with higher incomes, women are more likely than men to support household welfare and children’s education.