Pakistan, WWF – Pakistan Become Pioneers to Produce ‘Better Cotton’ in the Entire World
28 October, 2010
Lahore, 28th October, 2010 – Pakistan has successfully become the pioneer country in the world to produce certified ‘Better Cotton’. This has been accomplished under the ‘Better Cotton Initiative’ (BCI) of World Wide Fund for Nature – Pakistan (WWF – Pakistan). The special cotton yield is termed ‘Better Cotton’ as it is produced keeping strict environmental and ethical standards in place. The news was confirmed by Lise Melvin, Executive Director of Better Cotton Initiative and Hammad Naqi Khan of WWF - Pakistan.
Cotton constitutes a major chunk of Pakistan’s GDP and is responsible for sustaining the economy. Unsustainable agricultural practices paired with limited to no use of modern farming techniques and technology has made it one of the most environmentally unsustainable crops in recent times. Furthermore, the extensive use of pesticides used on the cotton crop have always had harmful impacts on the ecology of the areas in which the crop is grown but also on the farmers who grow it. BCI was registered in Switzerland and BC Guidelines were approved in 2009 with the aim to produce Better Cotton from the 2010 cotton season. WWF – Pakistan The multi-stakeholder Initiative aims to promote measurable improvements in the environmental, social and economical aspects of the cultivation of cotton and uses a holistic approach towards making cotton growing a sustainable practice.
Hammad Naqi Khan, Director Programmes (WWF – Pakistan) said on this achievement, ‘this is a great milestone, not just for the project team who have been tirelessly involved in realizing this dream, but also for the country. Pakistan has faced many setbacks recently, especially with the damage to the cotton crop at large because of the floods this year, but we have managed to achieve what no other BCI participating country has been able to do so far. Against all odds, we have around 45,000 MT of Better Cotton in Pakistan.’
WWF – Pakistan initiated its cotton work almost a decade ago with a small cotton project in 3 villages of district Vehari to educate farmers to reduce the use of agro-chemicals and irrigation water. Initially, WWF – Pakistan’s Better Management Practices (BMP) project for sustainable agriculture was started, which laid the groundwork for adoption of BCI. In January 2010, WWF – Pakistan, being implementing partner of BCI, initiated work in Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab province, and Ghotki and Sukkur in Sindh province. A strategic team in the Bahawalpur office of WWF – Pakistan oversees the management and implementation of the programme. The initiative has funding from ‘BCFTF’ (Better Cotton Fast Track Fund) and includes major partners IKEA and Levi Strauss & co.
Since then, WWF – Pakistan has 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 involves stringent ‘assessment’ and ‘verifications’, which focus on not only the betterment of cotton, but also the betterment of the farmer communities involved. 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 a substantial deficiency of fresh water and needs such better management practices for agriculture to avoid an agro-economic crunch in the future.
About WWF - Pakistan
World Wide Fund for Nature - Pakistan was formed in 1970 to address the growing environmental and conservation issues in Pakistan that not only affected the flora and fauna, but were also affecting the human population. WWF – Pakistan is a non-profit organisation, working to preserve, conserve and save our environment and natural resources. Today, WWF - Pakistan works through 31 offices with a team of approximately 340 dedicated staff members. We have our Head Office in Lahore, regional offices in Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Gilgit, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Quetta, and project offices wherever there is need and the potential to make a difference.
For further information
Nuzhat Saadia Siddiqi
Coordinator, Press & Media Relations
0305 471 5120