Kutch is home to a rich and diverse history of weaving traditions: an insight into the landscape itself as well as a glimpse into the lifestyles of those who settled to tend the fields, those who roamed throughout the region, and how the lives of different communities were quite literally woven together in an economy of farmers, yarn producers, specialised weavers, and those who purchased and utilised the finished items.
One such unique woven cloth is Kala cotton, which begins life as a crop indigenous to Kutch and resilient to drought and wind, with a high tolerance to pests and diseases. The cultivation of this hardy, rain-fed plant is being revitalised as an alternative to genetically modified cotton that requires irrigation and chemical treatments: Kala cotton is carbon neutral, energy efficient, economically viable and promotes valuable ecological diversity in India. With minimal investment needed, it’s ideally suited to marginal farmers who can’t afford the risks that come with ‘modern’ cotton farming, while the potential for sustainable income extends to the whole production chain of spinners, ginners, weavers and those using natural dyeing and printing techniques to enhance the cloth.
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