Pakistan has successfully become the pioneer country in the world to produce certified ‘Better Cotton’, and this has been accomplished under the ‘Better Cotton Initiative’ (BCI) of World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWFP). According to a WWF-P’s spokesman here on Thursday, the project was initiated with the funding from Better Cotton Fast Track Fund (BCFTF), which includes partners Ikea and Levi Strauss and Company.The special cotton yield is termed ‘Better Cotton’, as it is produced keeping strict environmental and ethical standards in place. The WWF-P initiated its cotton work almost a decade ago with a small cotton project in three villages of district Vehari to educate farmers to reduce the use of agro-chemicals and irrigation water. Initially, WWF-P’s Better Management Practices (BMP) project for sustainable agriculture was started, which laid the groundwork for adoption of BCI. In January, WWF-P, being implementing partner of BCI, initiated work in Rahim Yar Khan, Ghotki and Sukkur.
Since then, the WWF-P worked with 40,000 cotton growers covering more than 160,000 hectares to produce Better Cotton that will be consumed by local ginners and spinners for international buyers. The entire process involved stringent ‘assessment’ and ‘verifications’, which focus on not only the betterment of cotton, but also the betterment of the farmer communities involved in the process. The fact that this cotton is grown by using less water and is sustainable is of great hope for a country like Pakistan, which already suffers from great deficiency of fresh water and needs such better management practices for agriculture to avoid an agro-economic crunch in the future – Brecorder