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PACT Apparel Introduces New Organic Cotton, Fair Trade Certified(TM) Line

Whole Foods Market Is the Exclusive Launch Partner

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Mar 07, 2014 (Marketwired via COMTEX) -- PACT, an ethical and organic apparel brand, announced today that it is launching a line of organic cotton apparel manufactured in a Fair Trade Certified(TM) facility. The line will include 19 product styles featuring 78 different items. A preview of the line featuring custom designed women's t-shirts for Spring retailing at $14.99 launches March 7, 2014 exclusively at select Whole Foods Markets.

 

On July 1, 2014, the Fair Trade Certified line will be expanded to include its famous underwear, leggings, camisoles, men's t-shirts, long johns and baby products. The expanded line will be available at retailers across the US and on www.wearPACT.com . This is the first Fair Trade Certified line for PACT whose mission is to design and produce clothes that make the world a better place.

From seed-to-shelf, PACT follows every step of the manufacturing process in a supply chain that is fully GOTS and Fair Trade Certified by third party auditors. All of the cotton for PACT's Fair Trade Certified line is sourced from Chetna Organic -- a cooperative of 15,000 organic cotton farmers in India who practice non-GMO organic agriculture. Chetna works to improve livelihood options of smallholder farmers by making their farm systems more sustainable and profitable, and by creating access to ethical markets in cotton.

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Farmers in India have suffered the abuse and unscrupulous money lenders and middlemen. Cotton farmers have found themselves under crushing debt, unable to pay back lenders. The major reasons to borrow money is to buy pesticides to spread over the yearly crop. The cost of the pesticide is inflated, forcing them to borrow more than they can pay back launching them into a cycle of debt, continuing to borrow money for pesticide, pay it back, then borrowing more money, to again buy more pesticide. Tens of thousands of farmers across India's agricultural sector have committed suicide over the past two decades...

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Early last year, Scott Tannen and his wife, Missy Tannen, were shopping for sheets when they experienced firsthand the confusion that comes in trying to find quality sheets.

“I just wanted a beautiful, soft set of white sheets,” MissyTannen said. “Every display was full of nebulous buzzwords like 'thread count,' and the prices seemed really high. The longer I stared at the shelves, the more confused I became. I had no confidence that I would walk out of the store with something great.”

Motivated by that shopping experience, the couple founded Boll & Branch in January in an effort to offer 100% organic cotton sheets directly to consumers from Chetna Organic, an Indian cooperative that supports sustainable farming and community development.

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Fairtrade International’s Reykia Fick met with the Fairtrade cotton cooperative Chetna Organic’s CEO, Arun Ambatipudi and Technical Head (Entomology), Ram Prasad Sana at the Textile Sustainability Conference in Istanbul.

“Having control over seed is the essence of Fairtrade. Fairtrade is not only about pricing. It is about farmers’ ownership over agriculture. Without seed there is no agriculture. The most basic human right is control over seed.”

 

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"This appetite for higher yields, led to indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, devastating soil health in the process. Like most other villages in the region, even here, small and marginal farmers could not withstand the “mighty will” of the State to impose a regime of subsidised chemical fertilizers and pesticides,” says Mr. Ambadass Sonkamble, Block co-ordinator, Chetna Organic, Secunderabad.

 

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Climate change has spawned debate as well as initiatives such as planting saplings, cultivating kitchen gardens, household energy conservation and so on.
At the grassroots level, a few farmers are doing their bit to preserve traditional and local varieties of seeds.
“These farmers are commonly called ‘Custodian farmers’. They preserve traditional seeds and make sure that they don’t disappear amongst the variety of hybrid seeds available in the market which farmers prefer because of the promise of high yield,” says M. Palanisamy, Programme Director, Rainfed Farming Development Programme at the Dhan Foundation in Madurai.
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Work in the fields is hindered which may lead to extra investment by way of weeding operations and application of fertilizer.

As the monsoon so far turned out to be the wettest in Adilabad in recent memory, the first signs of worry are beginning to show among cotton farmers. The prolonged wet spell, the current having started five days back, is hindering work in the fields which will eventually lead to extra investment by way of weeding operations and application of fertilizers. 
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An initiative aimed to pull tribal communities out of their nutritional poverty in Yeotmal district, Maharashtra has demonstrated how allotment of tiny homestead lands can transform lives....
 
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The Maharashtra government has lifted the ban on sale of Bt Cotton seeds supplied by Mahyco Seeds for the coming Kharif season "in public interest". The ban was imposed last year with the Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil being upset over the company allegedly for "not furnishing its marketing plan and failing to fulfil the seeds distribution obligation".
 
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When an average cotton farmer goes to sell his harvest in the market, he often has a vague idea about the right price for his produce or he does not have any option but to agree to a middleman’s typically skewed assessment of crop quality, weight and value.

To let farmers have more control over all the stages of production, they need an approach that works on collective action and a niche market development. To achieve these goals and to help farmers help themselves, Chetna Organic was established in 2004. It works in three Indian states: Maharashtra, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

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