Ernte der Bio Baumwolle aus eigenem Cotonea Tair Trade Projekt in Kirgistan

Cotonea organic cotton from Kyrgyzstan

Our Kyrgyz organic cotton is brilliantly white, the fibres are strong and tear-resistant.

Cultivation project: Kyrgyzstan

Supporting organic farmers

  • Ernte der Bio Baumwolle per Hand in Kirgistan
    Also in Kyrgyzstan (officially the Kyrgyz Republic) the cotton is picked by hand. Since changing to certified organic cotton in 2005, nearly all of the entire cotton of the project of the Swiss development organisation Helvetas goes to Cotonea.
  • Kirgisische Bäuerin verkauft ihre Waren vor der eigenen Hütte
    In front of her yurt, this farmer has set up a simple sales stand, a metal table with a simple table top. There is water, filled into bottles, yoghurt balls and Boorsok, the traditional, deep-fried pastry.
  • Besitzer von Pferden haben bescheidenen Wohlstand in Kirgistan
    A handsome, healthy horse secures a modest level of prosperity. It is a means of transportation, that is happy to consume the fuel from the farmers own cultivation. This is lucky, because petrol and diesel are rare commodities.
  • Stolze Bio Bauern in Kirgistan präsentieren die Bio-Baumwoll-Ernte
    A quick visit to the farmer with the highest yields and his wife. If you ask him how he managed it, his answer is humble and jubilant, he simply did everything that his project leader taught him.
  • Bäuerinnen aus Kirgistan ruhen sich aus nach der Ernte der Bio Baumwolle
    Next to the cotton field, the helpers wait for their daily harvest to be picked up. Even for the work on the fields they wear their finest dresses. This work is no work for men.
  • Lagerung der Bio Baumwolle in Kirgistan
    This collection point is simple, but tidy and clean. At sunset the baskets with the harvested cotton fibres are brought here. The men drink tea, the women work. Nobody would even think of taking offence in this.
  • Kirgisische Bio Bäuerinnen gehen nach der Ernte nach Hause
    The day’s work is done. Tired and satisfied, the harvest helpers return to their village. Machines, fuel and artificial fertiliser are in short supply in Kyrgyzstan. The organic cotton farmers produce their own (organic!) fertiliser.
  • Bio Baumwolle Transport mit Auto in Kirgistan
    A clear view is not as important as well used space. The cotton fibres are stuffed without a cover such as a sack or cloth onto the back seat and into the car boot. Every cubic centimetre is filled, hopefully the driver is skilled.
  • Lagerung der Bio Baumwolle in Kirgistan mit dem Förderband
    The conveyor belt of the Saw Gin, the ginning machine, has ceased heaping the hills of white gold for today. One evening, a night’s rest, before continuing the next day.
  • In Kirgistan wird die Bio Baumwolle im eigenen Haus bewacht
    During the harvest it can happen that the beds are set up in the warehouse. At least this way you can be sure that nothing “disappears”.
  • Atemberaubende Landschaft und Berge in Kirgistan
    Those travelling to Kyrgyzstan must cross high passes and drive through deep gorges. A large part of the country lies within Tian Shan, the Mountains of Heaven – breath-taking, steep and rugged.

The fall of the Soviet Union ended the planned economy in Kyrgyzstan in 1989. During this time, the kolkhozes became smallholder farms. To make a living, the people had to reorganise and find a new orientation. Since 2010, Kyrgyzstan has been a not very stable parliamentary republic, corruption is widespread. 37% of the people live below the poverty line. The north is richer than the south. Jalalabad lies in the south-west of the country, near the border to Uzbekistan. The climate is extreme: here you have icy winters and very hot summers. The vegetation period is very short - also for cotton.

  • Landkarte Herkunftsland Cotonea Bio-Baumwolle Kirgistan
    Map of Kyrgyzstan - cultivation of organic cotton at the foot of the Kyrgyz mountain range.
  • Herkunftsland der Cotonea Bio Baumwolle aus Kirgistan auf der Weltkarte
    Organic cotton for Cotonea textiles from Kyrgyzstan in Asia - almost 4,500 km away.

It was a little stroke of luck, that Cotonea was a partner of this cotton project practically from the start. Although we did not collect the first three harvests during this time of change, we could add our knowledge and experience to this project from the beginning. The first “real” organic cotton harvest was brought in in 2007 and delivered to Cotonea at the beginning of 2008. The harvest only weighed just about 40 tonnes. But it was a start. Despite many setbacks, it has been possible over the years to consistently improve the quality and to produce good organic cotton. The farmers can rely on us buying the cotton from them, which is a big advantage for them.

The journey from Germany takes about two days. The journey by car from the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek to Jalalabad is long: 600 kilometres on the curvy M41, nine hours’ drive through the deserted steppe. On mountain passes you travel at a height of 3,500 metres through the 5000 metres high Kyrgyz mountains. But this journey is worth it, as this way a personal, trusting relationship is built with the local organic farmers, and we get a clear impression of the possibilities, the quality and the purity of our organic cotton.

Further cultivation projects
Uganda als Herkunftsland der Cotonea Bio-Baumwolle aus eigenem Projekt
Organic cotton from the cultivation project in Uganda

Our Ugandan organic cotton is a dream: silky and firm, the fibres are very long, non-slippery and wonderfully soft.

Find out more