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Simply Gentle cotton wool

Traditionally grown, cotton is regarded as one of the most environmentally damaging crops in the world, receiving more pesticides (a total of US $1.85 billion worth per year) than any other crop worldwide. The intensive use of toxic Simply Gentle Cotton Woolchemicals on cotton causes serious health and environmental impacts including poisoning farmworkers, land degradation and water contamination. In addition, insect pest resistance, arising from the excessive use of pesticides, is a serious threat to production for many growers who depend upon this crop alone for survival.

Simply Gentle is the first organic cotton wool to be launched in the UK, by a company called Macdonald and Taylor, and sources its cotton from small village farmers in Tanzania, East Africa. For Tanzania, cotton is the second most important source of foreign exchange after coffee. Farmers in the organic area mainly keep cattle, but also grow food crops (maize, groundnuts and sweet potatoes) for their own consumption, with cotton being their only cash crop.

Simply GentleUnder the company’s "Sustainable Development" programme, alternative plant protection methods have been introduced, and yields similar to conventional chemical methods can be achieved. Ingenious natural pest control methods are utilized, including planting ‘trap’ plants around the cotton crop. Sunflowers for example attract large numbers of ants, which in turn eat the cotton-attacking pests, avoiding the use of toxic chemicals.

The Tanzanian farmers are given a guaranteed market for their organic cotton at a premium price with payment in cash. In addition, approximately 5% of the product purchase price will be used to support local projects such as school-building and sponsoring teachers.
 

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