Two Down, And Here is the Third: Puerto Rico Cotton Study Announced!
Some people use the end of the year to look back and share some of their main achievements of the year. I figured I’d wait for a few days and start the new year with a nice announcement: the Puerto Rico Cotton Study I’ve been working on over the past year has officially been published! It follows the previous studies I have done in Haiti, which focused on moringa and organic cotton.
As some of you may recall I visited Puerto Rico last year, spending an amazing time learning more about the history of cotton on the island and getting introduced to some great initiatives related to organic farming and natural fibers.
The stuff I found out there provided me with the foundation for this study, which contains a brief history of cotton in Puerto Rico, a short overview of current interest in cotton and natural fibers on the island, and an outline of several scenarios that might be considered when developing an integrated, smallholder-driven organic cotton value chain.
Shout out to the awesome team in Puerto Rico for their input and support with finishing the study. And of course to Timberland for their ongoing support for our efforts in both Haiti and now with this project as well.
The next practical step will be field testing several varieties of organic cotton to determine which will be best suited to conditions in Puerto Rico. Excited to see what may come out of this seed now that it has been planted!
———— PRESS RELEASE ————–
Paving the Way for a New Natural Fibers Industry
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, December 20, 2018 – A study released today draws on the recent reintroduction of cotton to Haiti by the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) as the basis for mapping out a similar scenario for Puerto Rico. Both countries share a history of cotton production that has been halted for generations, and both countries have a tradition of small-scale family farming in need of revitalization. Hurricane Maria in 2017 was particularly devastating to Puerto Rico’s smallholder farmers, and a coalition of local organizations there approached the SFA to share its sustainable smallholder-grown cotton expertise to help with the recovery efforts. The Puerto Rico Cotton Study: Exploring a Smallholder-based Organic Cotton Supply Chain is the result of a collaboration led jointly by the SFA and Visit Rico, with support from Textile Exchange and members of Armonía en la Montaña, an educational non-profit organization in Puerto Rico, and the Mercado Agrícola Natural Viejo San Juan.
The spirit of this study was captured by Matilsha Marxuach, Founder and Chief Designer at Concalma, when she said, “I am very excited to be part of an initiative which contemplates bringing together designers, farmers, engineers and economists to create a new sector of natural fibers that can help restore resiliency in our local economy while regenerating communities.” She noted, “This initiative proposes to transform an extractive industry to one that builds community wealth through an intertwining chain that goes from a cotton seed to an end product.”
The feasibility study seeks to explore the potential scenarios for the reintroduction of smallholder-grown, sustainable cotton as a productive agricultural crop in Puerto Rico. It provides a brief history of cotton in Puerto Rico, a short overview of current interest in cotton and natural fibers on the island, and an outline of several scenarios that might be considered when developing an integrated, smallholder-driven organic cotton value chain.
“This study demonstrates the existence of innovative options for local economic development,” said Miguel A. Soto-Class, Founder and President of Centro Para la Nueva Economia, who went on to say that, “The experiences highlighted also offer valuable lessons for other agricultural segments and point to new opportunities that will strengthen institutional capacities and support systems for the sector of small-scale producers in Puerto Rico.”
The next practical step will be field testing several varieties of organic cotton to determine which will be best suited to conditions in Puerto Rico.
Click here for the Spanish edition of the study, and for more information about the Puerto Rico Cotton Initiative please contact the Project Administrator: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am Chris, a certified permaculture designer, sustainable development professional and DIYer. I like to grow, inside and out. I’m interested in growing positive impact and finding solutions that go beyond sustainable.
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