First Timberland shoes made with Haitian cotton
Timberland helped to reintroduce cotton growing to Haiti after a 30-year hiatus.
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As part of its project to reintroduce the growing of cotton into Haiti alongside the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA), footwear and apparel producer Timberland has released shoes made with the resulting fibre. In 2016, the company conducted a feasibility study to explore the possibility of bringing cotton farming back to Haiti after a three decade-long absence. During the following year, field trials of different varieties of cotton were conducted to determine which would fare the best.
One hundred farmers planted the leading varieties of cotton in August 2018 and then shared in Haiti’s first commercial cotton harvest since the late 1980s. The cotton was ginned, baled and woven into fabric that was passed to Timberland product designers. The company has pledged to plant more trees in Haiti as part of its commitment to introduce 50 million new trees worldwide.
Participating farmers earn credits that can be exchanged for agricultural training, better quality seeds and hand tools. Other redeemable benefits reportedly include literacy programmes, microcredit services and livestock. On average, the 6,000 SFA farmers engaged in the programme are said to have seen an average increase of 40 per cent in their crop yields and a 50 to 100 per cent growth in their incomes. This newly-created cotton supply chain is also open to other brand owners and industries.
This article was originally published on page 4 of the June 2021 issue of SATRA Bulletin.