Project background 

Since ages, India has been producing cotton for textiles generating huge opportunity for both skilled and unskilled labour in agriculture and allied sectors, thus helping to strengthen national economy. The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is the largest cotton sustainability programme reaching across 21 countries across the globe. Action for Food Production (AFPRO) in collaboration with BCI manages the farm-level implementation of the Better Cotton Standard, a holistic approach to more sustainable cotton production. BCI farmers are trained on how to use water efficiently, care for the health of the soil and natural habitats, and minimize the impact of harmful crop protection practices, preserve. BCI licensed farmers are trained to produce cotton in a way that cares for the environment, minimizing the negative effects of fertilizers and pesticides and caring for water, soil health and natural habitats, thus preserving fibre quality. BCI is also committed to ensure safety and well-being of workers through insistence on decent work principles.

Objective of the programme:

The main objective of the programme is to convert existing cotton area under better cotton using sustainable crop management practices and to improve the production of cotton. It aims at creating measurable, credible change at farm level, connecting supply with demand. The main focus was on enhancing the knowledge of farmers in sustainable agricultural practices like Integrated Nutrient Management, Integrated Pest Management, Crop Water Management and Biodiversity enhancement.

Major Interventions:

AFPRO has successfully been driven tasks of technical trainings and disseminated knowledge on BCI production principles and criteria through well-structured module and schedule. A totalof 115564 farmers have been covered by AFPRO under the programme during April2019 to March2020.While 2540 Learning Groups were formers in Gujarat and Maharashtra, AFPRO has linked around 14,000 numbers of farmers with KVK Yavatmal andCentral Institute of Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpurfor agro advisory services. During 2019-20, 500 number of farmers were obtained Soil Health Cards through AFPRO this year. Farmers were trained on fertilizer dose, reading and application of SHC in their field.Technical Advisory Whatsapp Group has been established by AFPRO Yavatmal with colaboration with Krishi Vigyan Kendra& Cente Institute for Cotton Research. The group is formed by aiming instant farmers technical suitability at field level. It has provided its technical services in 310 project villages through 100 numbers of field facilitators for more than 48,000 numbers of farmers. Using smart technology it has been found easy to reach out each village with problem assessment and solution. Scientist from KVK and CICR has been providing on field solutions to the farmer through this group.

Training programmeswere conducted on different modules like Better Cotton Initiative System and land preparation, Integrated Nutrient Management, Integrated Pest Management, Decent Work, PPE & fibre quality with 2540Learning Groups.Over 800 Personal Protective Equipment kitswere distributed in Gujarat and 300 in Maharashtra for the health and safety of labour and farmers with the support of Syngenta Foundation.35719 seeds and plants were distributed for biodiversity in collaboration with Forest Department.

Impact of the programme:

Through our interventions, farmers reduced 50% use of chemical pesticides. Enhanced awareness in appropriate use of chemical fertilizers. Another significant change was the increased use of bio-fertilizer, waste decomposer, AmrutJal, Jivamrut etc. as a part of Integrated Nutrient Management. We have developed linkages with Agricultural Universities, KrishiVigyan Kendra, ATMA, Irrigation Department, Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur, and Forest Department etc. About 35% procurement for Better Cotton in the project area is reported.To uplift the standard of living of the cotton community, it has built up the capacity of producer unit staff on water stewardship, bio-diversity, decent work, forced labour.

FUNDING PARTNER   :Better Cotton Initiative (BCI)

DURATION                   : April 2022 to March,2025

LOCATION                    :  6 districts of Gujarat and 3 districts of Maharashtra



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