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Cotton farmer Almas Parveen
Image: © Better Cotton Initiative

Editor’s Pick: the insiders’ must-haves

07.04.2019

DULCIE EMERSON

Deputy fashion editor

MEET THE COTTON-FARMING PIONEER

Introducing Almas Parveen, who has bucked tradition to become a respected voice in her community, while growing cotton more sustainably for major retailers like M&S

At the age of 17, Almas Parveen took over the running of her family’s farm in Pakistan from her father. “I wanted to run my farm productively and increase my average yield, but for some reason I couldn’t achieve this,” she says. “I attended Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) classes in my local area and learned many new techniques. My yields increased as my overheads fell, so I started telling the other farmers in my village about the methods I was using.” With the help of BCI, Almas became a field facilitator and an influential voice among her community. She now trains 400 other BCI farmers – men and women – to use water more efficiently and work with natural pesticides. “I am so happy that female farmers in my community now have the opportunity to be trained by a woman. I am an example to them that they too can make their own choices.” In 2017, she worked with Pakistan’s education authorities to help establish a new primary school in her village. Now that’s what we call an inspirational woman.

M&S joined BCI, a not-for-profit organisation, in 2009 as a pioneer member – 100% of the cotton for our clothing is sustainably sourced. And always will be. Learn more at marksandspencer.com/cotton
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