The agricultural usability of soils is declining worldwide. For decades, conventional agriculture has overexploited soils using artificial fertilizers, genetic engineering and pesticides. The result is a reduction in soil life and fertility. According to the United Nations, about 40% of the world's soils are already degraded and thus hardly fertile. By 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warns, up to 90% of arable land will be at risk.
According to Cotonea, a brand of Gebr. Elmer & Zweifel GmbH & Co. KG, Bempflingen/Germany, regenerative farming of cotton is also necessary. Industrialized agriculture depends on artificial fertilizers, the production of which is energy-intensive and relies on scarce, finite resources. Due to high energy costs, the supply of fertilizers is currently declining, which in turn reduces yields in conventional agriculture. In most cases, regenerative farming, like organic farming, does not require energy-intensive artificial fertilizers and saves on these costs.
»However, switching to natural solutions cannot directly reverse the damage caused during the previous decades. The effort required to regain soil health varies from state to state, requires know-how, financial investment and can take years - but is essential in the long run.«
The organic textile brand Cotonea sources its cotton from projects in Kyrgyzstan and Uganda; projects which the brand itself has helped to set up. Since the beginning (2005 and 2009) this organic farming practice has relied on farmers undertaking demanding training, natural plant care and forgoing the use of all synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The right timing, a large variety of rotating crops and the projects' own production of natural fertilizers through leaf fermentation or from waste products from livestock - these are some of the possibilities arising from agricultural measures based on the circular economy principle.
Since the founding of the cotton weaving company Gebr. Elmer & Zweifel in 1855, the company has been dedicated to the natural fiber cotton. In 1995, they began using organic cotton. Ever since the foundation of Cotonea in 2003, the brand has exclusively offered genuine organic textiles. The traditional company has helped set up organic cotton cultivation projects in Uganda and Kyrgyzstan and knows all the stations along its production chain on a personal level: from ginning and fiber production and yarn spinning, yarn dyeing, weaving and knitting, to finishing the fabrics and garment making.