Pakistan Embraces Organic Cotton
Organic cotton farming in Pakistan is getting a major boost, thanks to a partnership between C&A Foundation, WWF-Pakistan and the Agriculture Extension Department (AED) of Balochistan, a province in the west of the country.
Hundreds of farmers are already benefitting from a successful pilot started by C&A Foundation and WWF-Pakistan in the Lasbella district in 2015. The programme has trained 500 cotton farmers in organic cultivation practices and helped them begin the journey towards achieving organic certification, while also teaching women farmers about health and safety.The partnership has huge potential to increase organic farming in the country, which is now the fourth largest producer of cotton in the world.
Over the next three years, C&A Foundation and WWF-Pakistan will extend organic cotton production within Lasbella, as well as into the Sibi and Barkhan districts of Balochistan. The shift to organic cotton will take place under the supervision of WWF-Pakistan and a certified verifying body, and the aim is to create a sustainable organic cotton farming industry. The programme has recently gained support from AED Balochistan, who will be providing assistance for field-level activities and, support in expanding organic cotton in Pakistan.
Organic cotton farming is less water intensive than conventional farming practices and healthier for farmers, soil and wildlife, as it rejects harmful chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Hammad Naqi Khan, director WWF-Pakistan, said: “WWF-Pakistan aims to make cotton production sustainable and in principle will provide every possible support to the organic cotton farmers through its sustainable agriculture programme (SAP)."
Masood Ahmed Baloch, director general AED Balochistan, added: “As the AED Balochistan has been providing technical assistance to farmers in the province – AED is a natural partner of WWF-Pakistan regarding capacity building of organic cotton farmers." C&A Foundation is committed to supporting organic cotton production in the region, so farmers can enjoy sustainable livelihoods while having minimum impact on the environment.
“WWF-Pakistan aims to make cotton production sustainable and in principle will provide every possible support to the organic cotton farmers through its sustainable agriculture programme (SAP)."