Philanthropic funds that take a broader view are helping cotton growers produce more sustainably and profitably for themselves and supply chains. Will industry and government commit, too?

Systemic problems need systemic solutions. But interventions in agriculture tend to be farm-level and focus on boosting farmers’ short-term prosperity. The cost is land degradation and unsustainable practices.

Inspired by philanthropic initiatives such as the Regenerative Production Landscape Collaborative (RPLC) initiated by Laudes Foundation, IDH, and WWF India in 2022, communities are embracing a landscape-based model. Agricultural ecosystems owned locally and collectively use regenerative principles to conserve resources, reduce emissions, build resilience and enable businesses to source responsibly. That lets farmers participate actively in land management to improve their income. For Salaidana’s cotton farmers, for example, a group called SRIJAN (Self-Reliant Initiatives for Joint Action) helped them understand that diversifying into vegetable cultivation could lessen financial hardship and improve soil quality.

The RPLC spearheaded training in Salaidana. The initiative already supports 120,000 farmers in India, helping them thrive by adopting nature-positive practices across 1,158 square miles. RPLC is also active in Tanzania, Brazil and Pakistan, where it empowers collaborators to adopt the model. They rely on a deep understanding of local nuances and needs.

So, if the model’s working, why not scale it further, Laudes officials asked? Up until now, such grand ambitions have been out of financial reach. The funding is nearly all philanthropic.

Read the full article about philanthropy funds for farming by Michael Keller at Forbes.