A press trip was organized from 8th to 10th October 2006 under the Water Thirsty Crops project.
The objective of the press trip was to engage the journalists in a way so that they can provide informed and sensitized coverage to the project in the print media. The journalists went to see the cotton fields where they also spoke to the farmers in order to have their first-hand experience regarding sustainable cotton production.
The journalists were from leading newspapers such as Dawn, the News, Daily Times, and the Nation etc.
|Hammad Naqi Khan,
giving an overview of the project to the journalists.
|Getting ready to go into the fields||International colleagues accompanying the Project team and journalists|
Making a difference
Globally agriculture uses around 70% of water taken from rivers, rising to 95% in arid countries such as Pakistan. The majority of this is used on 4 -5 water intensive crops – cotton, sugarcane, rice, wheat and pasture for cattle. Some 2.3 million tonnes of pesticides are used annually and this figure is increasing. In Pakistan pesticide use for cotton farming accounts for 50% of all pesticides used with major health impacts on cotton farming families and water carried downstream for social and environmental use.more
The chemicals we use are poison”
a story on the Farmer Field School’s approach, its success and implications
Since 2004, WWF-Pakistan has been working on agriculture in the district of Bahawalpur along with its local partner, the Kissan Welfare Association (KWA). Farmer facilitators who are members of KWA have been establishing Farmer Field Schools (FFS), which have been very successful in spreading awareness amongst small farmers in the cotton growing belt of Southern Punjab. Once a week, farmers meet for around 3 hours to study a selected field. Around 25 farmers participate, with usually two facilitators. The farmers are split into groups of 5 and they are asked to prepare a presentation on their findings with charts and drawings of what they’ve learnt (many farmers are illiterate, hence the need for images).more
Cotton textile production is the most important of Pakistan's industries, accounting for about 60% of total exports in 2000/01. Pakistan has become self-sufficient in cotton fabrics and exports substantial quantities.
The marketing of seed cotton is a complex operation that includes all transactions involving buying, selling or reselling from the time the seed cotton is ginned until it reaches the textile mill.
In Bahawalpur which is one of the largest cotton producing districts of Pakistan, growers usually sell their cotton to a local buyer or merchant after it has been ginned and baled.
According to survey done by WWF – Pakistan, there are three marketing channels active in Bahawalpur and Yazman Tehsil which are summarized below:
The above mentioned channel is the most popular marketing channel prevailing in Bahawalpur district. According to this, middle men collect cotton seeds from the farmer. Whereby, he bears all the costs involved which include: loading / unloading, weighing labor charges and transport costs etc. Payment is made at the spot to the cotton growers.
1. Market (Mandi) and
2. Ginning Factories
Each channel has its own merit and demerit. In case of first channel, the advantage is that buyer is available at the door step but there are all sorts of likelihood that the farmers will get less price of its seed cotton. Moreover, the weighing machine is adjusted as such that the seed cotton would be under weight.
In case of second channel, there is a major issue of katoti.
Cotton is a soft fiber that grows around the seeds of the cotton plant (Gossypium sp.), a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, India, and Africa. However, virtually all of the commercial cotton grown today worldwide is grown from varieties of the native American species Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense. The fiber is most often spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile, which is the most widely used natural-fiber cloth in clothing today. The English name derives from the Arabic word al qutun, meaning "cotton fiber". (The Spanish word algodón has the same etymology.)
Cotton fiber, once it has been processed to remove seeds and traces of wax, protein, etc., consists of nearly pure cellulose, a natural polymer. Cotton production is very efficient, in the sense that ten percent or less of the weight is lost in subsequent processing to convert the raw cotton bolls (seed cases) into pure fiber. The cellulose is arranged in a way that gives cotton fibers a high degree of strength, durability, and absorbency. Each fiber is made up of twenty to thirty layers of cellulose coiled in a neat series of natural springs. When the cotton boll is opened, the fibers dry into flat, twisted, ribbon-like shapes and become kinked together and interlocked. This interlocked form is ideal for spinning into a fine yarn.
As of 2007, the seven largest producers of cotton in the world are (1) China, (2) India, (3) the United States, (4) Pakistan, (5) Brazil, (6) Uzbekistan and (7) Turkey
Cotton is a water thirsty crop, and as [water resources] get tighter around the world, economies that rely on it face difficulties and conflict, as well as potential environmental problems.