Friday, June 8, 2012

Pakistan Qualifies as Better Cotton Country

Pakistan becomes the first country to qualify as Better Cotton Country. Environmentalists while talking about major cotton growing countries like Pakistan, India and Brazil make a point by saying that these nations are exporting there fresh water at a very cheap rate.
About a decade ago, WWF-Pakistan started a very small cotton project in 3 villages of district Vehari to educate farmers to reduce the use of agro-chemicals and irrigation water.
By December 2005 WWF-Pakistan was able to convince IKEA’s top management in Helsingborg, Sweden to support this sustainable cotton production program, meetings with APTMA, FAP, PCGA and the Seths of Gul Ahmad, Chenab, Al-Karam were also held to promote the program and gain local and international support.
This field project also provided the foundation and demonstration to come up with Global Cotton Standards; the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) with 4 pilot regions (Brazil, Pakistan, India and Central Africa). BCI was registered in Switzerland and BC Guidelines were approved in 2009 with the aim to produce BC from the 2010 cotton season.
Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), Rabo Bank and brands like Levis, M&S, H&M, Adidas came on board as support partners of the project in a textile conference held in Colombo earlier this year....
In 2010 under the Better Cotton Project WWF-Pakistan worked with 40,000 cotton growers covering more than 160,000 ha. The whole team worked extremely hard on making this project/dream a reality and the result is that around 45,000 MT of project cotton has been qualified as ‘Better Cotton’ through the BCI process of ‘assessment’ and ‘verifications’. This BC will be consumed by local ginners and spinners for international buyers. But this is just a beginning and I hope that this will act as further inspiration to continue our hard work.”
The project is also significant as it introduced very sustainable and eco friendly pesticides and pest control techniques.
Bitter melon was used for creating an all organic pesticide. sweet timber sticks were inserted in the fields to attract termites on them, which were later removed from the fields....
Farmers have bene able to cut down to about 30 % on there water and have saved about $ 400 appx on agrochemicals and water....

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