Kumar is a cotton farmer and lives together with his wife and five children in southern India. Year in, year out his harvests have been disappointing, forcing him to subsist on little more than a euro per day.
Work on the land is gruelling and unhealthy. Kumar has no money to buy cotton seed and takes a loan from an untrustworthy middleman. What’s more, the seed is of poor quality. Kumar’s future looks bleak. Then he hears of a new cotton cooperative that has been set up. By joining the cooperative, he gains access to credit and expertise. He is able to buy good-quality seed from the cooperative on credit. From them, he also learns how to grow cotton sustainably. The cooperative extends a loan to Kumar so that he can invest in his operation. The money for this credit comes from Rabobank Foundation. Kumar’s costs go down, because he no longer needs to buy expensive pesticides and needs less water to irrigate his crop. His turnover rises, because market prices for organic cotton are higher and his increased expertise enables him to produce more efficiently. He sells his harvest to the cooperative, boosting his income to €900 a year. He pays off his loan and buys two cows. That way he is less dependent on his cotton crop. Life improves for Kumar and his family. His children can attend school and he renovates his house. Kumar is a proud farmer.