Cotton is one of the most important fiber and cash crop of India and plays a dominant role in the industrial and agricultural economy of the country. Cotton in India provides direct livelihood to 6 million farmers and about 40 -50 million people are employed in cotton trade and its processing. Indian cotton production is heavily associated with the intensive use of hazardous pesticides. Data reveals that Cotton cultivation in India consumes 44.5% of the total pesticides used in the country. In addition, cotton is a water thirsty crop and around 6% of the water for irrigation in India is used for cotton cultivation (Estimation based on figures from www .indiastat.com).
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an eco‐ friendly approach for managing pest and disease of crops by utilizing all possible available methods and techniques of pest control such as Cultural, Mechanical, Biological and Chemical methods in a scientific way to suppress the pest population below economic injury level. In Order to minimize the indiscriminate and judicious use of chemical Pesticides, IPM has been formulated as principle of plant protection in overall crop protection programmes under the National Agriculture policy of the Govt. of India for sustainable crop production without affecting environment.
In order to address these distresses of cotton cultivation, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has been established as a global initiative to make sustainable cotton production as mainstream standard. BCI aims to promote measurable improvements in the key environmental and social impacts of cotton cultivation worldwide to make it more sustainable (economically, environmentally and socially). AFPRO joined hands with BCI in the year 2011 and initiated the first project in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra, which was a result of AFPRO’s partnership with IKEA since 2008. As an implementing partner, AFPRO has made efforts to work with small and marginal farmers and capacitated them on BCI principles and criterion so that the cotton being produced by them is certified as better cotton. With the successful result of Yavatmal BCI project, in the year 2012, two more areas in Gujarat were brought under the umbrella of Better Cotton Initiative Programme.
“Presently AFPRO – BCI programme covers 70000 farmers from both Maharashtra & Gujarat”
AFPRO – BCI Programme aims at:
- Impart knowledge and skill to the farmers about Better Cotton Systems.
- Reduce the input cost.
- Motivate farmers to adopt environmental friendly cotton cultivation practices so as to ensure better health and environment including soil condition which will be advantageous for the people who produce it and also for other people who depend on cotton for their livelihood.
- Work towards realizing principles of Decent Work among farming communities that includes farm workers.
- Move towards developing linkages of farmers groups with the market.
- The project interventions resulted shift from high resource inputs to optimum input among the farmers cultivating cotton.
- In both the region all registered farmers are getting licence from BCI to sale better cotton.
- 40 % reduction in water consumption due to adoption of improved water management practices.
- About 30 – 40% reduction in use of chemicals (fertilizer and chemical pesticide) is recorded. Farmers have started using appropriate quantum of chemical fertilizer after soil testing.
- Average net profit recorded in the range of Rs.10112 – 44305 per ha in both Maharashtra and Gujarat.
- Generated awareness among the farmers on decent work activities like abolition of Child Labour, non involvement Pregnant Women during spraying of chemicals, use of persons above 18 Years and older for hazardous work etc through IEC activities.
- Dissemination of technical knowledge resulted in skill development of 150 number of village level volunteer.
- Past history and present coverage of the programme
- About BCI, Better Cotton, Minimum Production Criterias(MPCs) and the process we followed to grow Better Cotton
- Success Story