Materra establishes sustainable pilot cotton farm
UK-based Materra is aiming to develop farming technology to grow cotton in the most sustainable and transparent way, with an industrial scale pilot farm currently underway in India.
The team is currently building its first industrial scale pilot farm in Gujarat in partnership with Fashion for Good, Arvind, PVH and Kering. Over the next two years, Materra will continue to develop its technology and produce cotton directly for its brand partners.
Cotton is the most widely used natural fibre in the fashion textile industry but has significant negative environmental and social impacts.
Materra, which was previously known as hydroCotton, started by growing cotton in Essex and continues to use its Essex facilities as a research base. From here, the start-up managed to grow extra-long staple (ELS) cotton pesticide-free with up to 80% less water and fertiliser, and achieved two to four-fold increases in yield per hectare (baselined against global averages).
As the company scales up, it is now implementing its technology in cotton growing regions such as India, where the climate is more suitable to cotton farming. A more suitable climate means a healthier plant that needs fewer resources, Materra says.