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8th February 2019, Rahim Yar Khan

Pakistan’s first certified organic cotton bale

Pakistan is the fifth largest producer of cotton in the world. © WWF-PakistanWWF-Pakistan and Directorate of Agriculture Extension, Baluchistan celebrated the certification of Pakistan’s first organic cotton bale. This milestone to promote organic cotton production in Pakistan was celebrated through an event organised at AA Cotton Ginning Factory, Sadiqabad.

Government departments, cotton supply chain actors and WWF-Pakistan attended the event. Guests of honour included Hammad Naqi Khan, Director General, WWF-Pakistan; Khaleeq Nazar Kiyani, Secretary Agriculture and Cooperatives, Baluchistan; and Eng. Zamrak Khan, Minister Agriculture, Baluchistan.

Pakistan is the fifth largest producer of cotton in the world and the third largest exporter of raw cotton. Cotton and cotton products contribute about 10% to Gross Domestic Product and 55% to the foreign exchange earnings of the country. Overall, between 30-40% of cotton is consumed domestically as final products. The remainder is exported as raw cotton, yarn, cloth, and garments.

Organic cotton is grown without using any chemical fertilisers or pesticides and is cultivated on land that is detoxified from residues of chemical fertilisers and pesticides over a period of at least three years. Further, the seeds used to grow organic cotton are not genetically modified. With funding support of C&A Foundation, WWF Pakistan has been working together with Baluchistan’s Directorate of Agriculture Extension since 2015 on an initiative to promote organic cotton cultivation amongst small and marginal tribal farmers. Through the partnership, around 4,000 smallholder farmers have been trained and now the first farmers are seeing the fruits of their labour.

“Together we have made a major breakthrough in cotton sector of Pakistan that will benefit stakeholders, and overall economy of Pakistan. We are proud of the contribution of the farmers in Baluchistan,” said Hamad Naqi Khan, Director General, WWF-Pakistan.

“Four years ago, at the invitation of C&A Foundation, WWF-Pakistan accepted the challenge to launch an organic cotton programme in Baluchistan. Today, we are proud of the achievement of this joint initiative between WWF-Pakistan, the Directorate of Agriculture Extension of Baluchistan, and C&A Foundation. This is a landmark moment for the cotton sector in the country and we applaud the farmers in making this happen. While there is still more to be done in addressing the challenges related to non-GMO seeds and certification infrastructure, we believe that this is a promising start to the scale up of organic cotton in Pakistan,” said Anita Chester, Head of Sustainable Raw Materials for C&A Foundation.

After the inauguration of organic cotton bale, a consultative workshop was conducted in which representatives from ginners, spinners, textiles, brokers and brands participated and presented with their concerning inputs regarding development of a tenable supply chain of organic cotton in Pakistan.

www.wwfpak.org.pk

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