Pakistan marks its first step towards organic cotton supply chain

The certification of Pakistan’s first organic cotton bale has been the major breakthrough event in the country’s cotton sector, marking the first step towards the potential development of an organic cotton supply chain in the South Asian country. Pakistan is the fifth largest producer of cotton in the world and the third largest exporter of raw cotton, has achieved this milestone which is the aftermath of an initiative launched in Baluchistan about four years ago by C&A and WWF-Pakistan in partnership with the Directorate of Agriculture Extension of Baluchistan.

WWF-Pakistan with funding support from C&A foundation has been working with Baluchistan’s Directorate of Agriculture Extension since 2015 on a programme to promote organic cotton cultivation amongst small and marginal tribal farmers. Through this alliance, around 4000 smallholder farmers have been trained and are now able to see the fruits of their labor.

“This is a landmark moment for the cotton sector in the country and we applaud the farmers in making this happen. While there is still more to be done in addressing the challenges related to non-GMO seeds and certification infrastructure, we believe that this is a promising start to the scale-up of organic cotton in Pakistan.” – Anita Chester, Head of Sustainable Raw Materials, C&A Foundation.

It is worth noting that Organic cotton is grown without using any chemical fertilizers or pesticides and is cultivated on land that is detoxified from residues of chemical fertilizers and pesticides over a period of at least three years. Furthermore, the seeds that are used to grow organic cotton are not genetically modified and are kept clean from chemical impurities during processing and packaging. If the cotton crop produced adheres to the standards of organic cotton farming in its initial two years it is known as in conversion cotton. By the third year, the yield is certified as organic cotton.


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