location Pakistan dates 16 April, 2012 – 15 April, 2013 project team Riaz Mahmood Ashfaque Ahmed Nahiyoon Ghulam Sarwar Solangi
producing better cotton in Pakistan
Pakistan needs to produce better cotton. Sustainable production and improved quality are essential if this is to be achieved, but are being prevented by such problems as the overuse of pesticides and water resources, poor soil management, bad working conditions – including the use of child and bonded labour – and limited knowledge and skills.
so what’s the problem? Too many pesticides, poor picking practices, adulteration with water and other materials, mixed grades and seed varieties, inefficient storage and transportation cause Pakistani cotton to lose around 10–15 per cent of its value, equivalent to around US$350m a year. Farmers need to be made aware of the problems and trained properly to produce better cotton.
what is this project doing? Using Better Cotton Initiative production principles, this project mainly focuses on encouraging farmers to implement good agricultural practices (GAP). Participatory training is being given to small and large growers/ farmers in Mirpurkhas in Sindh, following the farmer field school pattern where people learn by doing.
KNOWLEDGE FOR LIFE
We are organizing 20 grower clusters and training them to produce better cotton. The clusters include more than 1000 large and small – defined as farmers with over and under 50 acres of cotton – growers and workers. We are providing large growers with advisory services and training for their workers. We visit each grower cluster every fortnight, in addition to providing advice via mobile phone. Training modules cover the biology of pests and their ecological management, on-site mass production of natural enemies and their conservation, the disadvantages of pesticides, crop maintenance from sowing to harvest, decency in work, contamination-free picking, packing, storage and transportation to ginners.
results so far Crop management is improving and farmers’ attitudes are gradually changing: training field facilitators and developing grower clusters has resulted in farmers becoming aware of the disadvantages of pesticides and understanding the values of biocontrol agents in regulating pest populations. We are helping large growers to establish reservoirs of natural enemies in their fields and training farmers to mass produce natural enemies of the mealy bug, the region’s major cotton pest. More than 50,000 Aenasius bambawalei adults have been released at different farms from CABI’s centre in Rawalpindi. This parasitoid has become abundant in the project area, keeping the mealy bug population under tolerable limits. We are also encouraging farmers to form their own small organizations, have contact with authorities to address their farming problems and achieve better access to market. As a result of the project: • the frequency of use of pesticides is decreasing • farmers are becoming aware of how to work and children are being taken away from field work • farmers are aware of better methods of cotton picking, storage and transportation • discussions on crop and soil management issues and how to solve them are taking place • g inners (cotton processors) have been asked to work with the farmers practising Better Cotton Initiative principles in farming on the project area We hope that better production will improve the livelihoods of smallholder cotton producers
www.cabi.org/pkcotton partners Agriculture Research Institute, Tandojam Government of Sindh, Pakistan sponsor Ikea Trading (Hong Kong) Ltd
contact CABI, Opposite 1-A, Data Gunj Baksh Road, Satellite Town, P.O. Box 8, Rawalpindi, Pakistan T: +92 (0)51 9290132 F: +92 (0)51 9290131 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.cabi.org/sasia
Riaz Mahmood, Project Manager