CABI Central and West Asia brought together 30 farmers from the Barkhan and Lasbella districts of Balochistan to share expertise which will help plans for Pakistan to produce more than 5,000 tons of organic cotton by the end of the year.
More than 2,500 farmers have already been given training on best organic cotton production practices – as part of the Cotton Advocacy for Policy and Seed (CAPAS) project, funded by the Laudes Foundation – and the latest group of cotton farmers were invited to visit the Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI) Multan.
Together with the support of The Department of Agricultural Extension, Government of Balochistan, CABI staff helped facilitate the visit where CCRI Director Dr Zahid Mahmood told the farmers about the Institute’s contribution to the cotton sector – but specifically the organic cotton varieties and machinery used to cultivate crops at CCRI Multan.
The farmers were able to ask questions and share their own experiences of organic cotton production in their local areas as well as learn more how Pakistan – as a major cotton producing country – is having to adapt to changing international consumer preferences or organic cotton-based products and how they can help meet demand.
The move to produce more than 5,000 tons of organic cotton will not only help tackle the rising prices of chemical pesticides but will also result in better replenishment of soils which can be used for cotton production in the coming few years.
Organic cotton farmers expressed their gratitude for CABI’s efforts in promoting organic cotton in Pakistan and they mentioned – after sharing experiences with progressive farmers of the Rahim Yar Khan area – that their organic cotton production is now higher than conventional cotton production in Punjab.
As part of the efforts to increase organic cotton production in Pakistan, the organic cotton farmers receive a 10% premium on their crop and their costs of production also remain low due to them not using chemical pesticides and fertilizers in the field.
Babar Latif Balochand Mohsin Abbasi
Main photo: Organic cotton farmers come together at the Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI) Multan to learn more about organic cotton production in Pakistan (Credit: CABI).
Relevant project page
Find out how CABI has been ‘promoting sustainable organic cotton production and supply in Pakistan’ from the project page.
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