Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saving handloom industry from ill-effects of Bt cotton


Updated: October 18, 2014 03:26 IST


Tula reviving chain of traditional cotton production, distribution

For several years now, organic farmers’ associations in the State have been worried that Bt cotton had systematically destroyed traditional cotton seeds and farming practices.
Dependence on chemicals for manure, bleaching and dyeing, power loom for weaving, along with the introduction of Bt cotton had not only destroyed the livelihoods of an entire segment of rural population but also taken a toll on the quality of the crop, they pointed out.
Their concerns were answered to some extent by Tula, a non-profit organisation, which has started reviving not only traditional cotton crop but also the entire chain of production and distribution.
Tula was launched in Tamil Nadu but success eluded it, says its founder V.R. Ananthoo. “We tried to grow cotton in Madurai. But, as cotton is grown only in a few areas in Madurai and Perambalur belt, and farmers moved to maize as the weather was not cooperative. We moved to Karnataka three years ago. We are trying to revive not just the fabric but livelihood in the cotton chain – including weavers, spinners and tailors,” he says.
Radhika Ram Mohan, who is associated with the project, says around 35 artisans in Melkote in Karnataka are involved in the work at present. Organic cotton is grown by farmers in northern Karnataka and the produce is brought to Melkote in Mandya district for processing it, spinning and weaving. Spinning and weaving is manual, providing the craftsman some earnings. But, more importantly it helps to maintain a tradition, she says.
Tula, which is holding an exhibition in Kottivakkam on Saturday, has also tied up with tribal groups in Sittlingi in Dharmapuri to create Lambadi embroidery in the garments. The products will also be available at Organic Farmers’ Market in Kasturba Nagar, Adyar. For further details, contact Ms. Mohan on 9884409566.


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