WWF- Pakistan initiated this 4 Year Project in 2006 with a purpose to create a mechanism
for increasing water availability and reducing pollution by decreasing the amount ofwater
and agrochemicals use in sugarcane and cotton production.
Over the last three years, the project activities has established encouraging impacts in terms of less use of inputs and more benefits in term of better cost-benefit ratios. Now, more and more farmers are contacting WWF – P to show their willingness to apply BMPs on their land. Moreover, the project has also received encouraging support from Agriculture Research and Extension Departments, Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI), Lahore Compost and local sugar mill for BMP implementation. Some of the key achievements are as under:
- Based on the promising results achieved under EC-TCP in collaboration with Agriculture Extension Department (AED), WWF-P was invited for participation in cotton production planning meeting FY09-10 and some of the BMPs pertaining to pest and irrigation management were incorporated in the cotton production plan for coming season.
- Around 13 participatory BMPs on irrigation, fertility and pest management were validated in collaboration with Research Institutions and in farmer's fields. The Agriculture Department, facilitated project in establishing Sustainable Agriculture Committee (SAC) in Bahawalpur and Faisalabad.
- In trial plots which were established with CCRI to determine impacts of compost as soil conditioner, there was a confirmed saving of around 33.66% of irrigation water, 57% of pesticides and 50% of the synthetic fertilizers.
- In trial plots established with Shakar Ganj Sugar Mills, the results analyzed showed that the sugarcane yield was better (57.20 tonnes/ha) in the trials where waste mud was used in combination with half of the recommended dose of synthetic fertilizers compared with 42.90 tonnes/ha in the conventional plot. Moreover, comparatively less attack of different sucking and boring pests was detected and relatively early maturing of the cane was observed in the plot where press mud was applied.
- In Sugarcane, the Farmer Field School (FFS) farmers after season long training made crop management decisions which led to 35.5% reduction in fertilizers applications, 27.66% in irrigation water and almost 100% in pesticide applications. Similarly, in case of cotton crop, the BMP farmers made crop management decisions which led to 23% reduction in tillage operations, up to 37% in irrigation water, up to 31% in synthetic fertilizers and up to 66% in pesticides use.
- The stakeholders have realized the importance of BMPs, resulting in growing interest. For example, the Crop Maximization Project-II (CMP-II) of MinFAL, Govt. of Pakistan initiated similar activities in collaboration with WWF-P in other cotton growing districts. Also, APTMA which is the apex body of all the textile mills in Pakistan revised the old Contract with WWF with strong emphasis on widespread BMP dissemination.
- In collaboration of Crop Maximization Project -II, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, 22 Master Trainer from Agriculture Extension Department (AED) and 500 farmers were trained in BMP implementation in districts Rahim Yar Khan and Muzafar-garh. The trained farmers made crop management decisions which led to around 20% reduction in fertilizer applications, 18% in irrigation water use and 55% in pesticide applications.
- Six Training Workshops, two at Faisalabad and four at Bahawalpur for 150 field facilitators were organized to refresh their knowledge about different participatory activities like FFS.
- After revising Women Open School (WOS) curricula, 18 WOS in Bahawalpur with 430 rural women and 5 WOS in Faisalabad with 125 rural women were established to develop their capacities for better pesticide risk reduction, improving health and hygiene and enhancing income generation options. In cotton, the trained women, while picking cotton, used masks and gloves resulted in 33% less incidences of pesticide poisoning. Similarly, by using/selling organic vegetables produced by using compost made up of household organic waste, the rural women on an average save/earn Rs. 1500/month.
- Communication activities including 31 field days, 15 in Faisalabad & 16 in Bahawalpur were organized in collaboration with AED and different farming communities. During these field days, BMP farmers and researchers shared their knowledge and experiences. These field days were attended by around 12000 farmers.
- Sixteen local CBOs in Bahawalpur were sensitized about BMPs and assured their participation in project activities. Moreover, some sixty FFS established under this project at Bahawalpur were converted into Citizen Community Boards (CCBs) to promote collective decision making process in community development activities in general and BMP implementation in cotton and sugarcane cultivation in particular.
- The project organized 13 Skill Enhancement Workshops (SEW) for Field Facilitators and for the staff of AED. Four SEW and two exposure visits to CCRI, Multan and Ayub Agriculture Research Institute, Faisalabad for the AED staff were organized which were participated by 78 field staff (Agriculture Officers & Field Assistants). Moreover, the project also organized several communication events in collaboration with the department. Some of the promising BMPs have become part of provincial cotton and sugarcane production plans.
- Around 3000 farmers directly and 12,000 farmers indirectly participated in project activities in target districts; Bahawalpur and Faisalabad. Cotton activities were initiated in other districts such as T. T. Singh, Muzafar Garh and Rahim Yar Khan and participated directly by 2500 farmers. During 2009, the cotton BMP activities were extended to Nawabshah and Sanghar districts in Sindh as well.
- Due to widespread promotion of BMP message through field level activities such as FFS, BMP demonstration plots, Field/Open Days and projection of these successes through print and electronic media, many farmers have expressed their interest to become part of these activities. Moreover, two large-scale progressive farmers have expressed their interest and now implementing the BMPs on their farms which could be a good indication towards sustainability of these activities.
- The activities of different actors in the cotton supply chain in the area are having positive impacts on the beneficiary farming communities, and increasing numbers of farmers have expressed their willingness to participate in the project activities.
- Due to encouraging impacts of the ECTCP, the Chenab Group, which is one of the leading textile groups of the country, encouraged BMP cotton uptake by the farmers in their sourcing area..
- Implementation of BMPs over 11, 905 acres has produced 342,472 mounds of BMP seed cotton which were scientifically verified by third party.
- DMC (Development Management Consultants) were commissioned to conduct a study regarding Sustainable Sugarcane Production in Pakistan and to review the existing Sugarcane and sugar related policies in Pakistan. A draft report have been submitted..