The Kutch region located in the west of India is a seasonal island flanked by the Gulf of Kutch and the salt flats of the Great and Little Ranns. The salt in the soil makes this low-lying region almost entirely barren. The villages that dot across Kutch’s arid landscape like the Abdasa taluka are home to some of the world’s most resilient people. After the earthquake of 2001 that destroyed several communities, the residents of this region came together to rebuild their lives, converting their resources into products for daily living. Wagad cotton is one such resource.
This old world organic and water-efficient indigenous strain had lost its significance to the modern softer foreign strains of long-staple Bt-cotton introduced in the 70s. Although deemed new, the long-staple varieties were not organic or water-efficient, requiring large amounts of pesticides and continuous irrigation. These strains also broke down local value-chains by requiring industrial machinery and mills for processing instead of the handloom systems that empowered entire regional communities.
To revive the soil and the community, multiple local organizations came together to get Wagad cotton certified organic. This certification helped it gain renewed attention in the industry as the newly branded Kala Cotton. Slowly but steadily, local organizations have come together once again with material communities to rebuild the lost ties between organic farmers, ginners, spinners, natural dyers, and the weavers to create long-lasting value for the land and its people.
A portion of profits from the sale of products below is donated to local community-powered funds and relief initiatives in Kutch. Click here to learn more.