Pakistan certifies first organic cotton bale
By Irfan Ulhaq Malik
R A HIM YAR KH AN: Balochistan on Wednesday marked the certification of Pakistan`s first organic cotton bale at a ceremony held at Kot Sabzal.
Balochistan`s Minster for Agriculture Engineer Zamrak Khan said the provincial government was committed to promoting organic agriculture throughout the province.
He further said that Balochistan would be developing an organic agriculture policy soon.
WWF-Pakistan Director General Hamad Nagi Khan said, `We have made a major breal(through in the cotton sector of the country that will benefit stakeholders and the overall economy of Pakistan.
In his remarks, Secretary Agriculture Balochistan Khaleeg Nazar Kiyani appreciated the efforts of WWFPakistan and the Agriculture Extension team.
`The certification is a step towards a more sustainable Pakistan.
Production of organic cotton will propel the cotton sector into a new direction,` he said.
Later, a consultative workshop was conducted in which representatives from ginners, spinners, textiles, bro1(ers and brands participated and presented their concerns regarding development of a tenable supply chain of organic cotton in Pakistan.
WWF-Pakistan`s Director Sustainable Agriculture and FoodProgramme Arif Hamid Mal(hdum conducted theintroductory session.
Going Organic In 2015, WWF-Pakistan secured financial support from the C&A Foundation, and in collaboration with Balochistan`sDirectorateofAgriculture Extension started work on a project titled `Organic Cotton Cultivation Promotion with Small and Marginal Tribal Farmers in Pakistan`.
The project is helping improve livelihoods of smallholder cotton farmers by promoting organic cotton cultivation and development of its supply chain.
Organic cotton is grown without using any chemical fertilisers or pesticides and is cultivated on land that is detoxified from residues of chemical fertilisers and pesticides over a period ofatleastthree years.
Seeds 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 called in conversion cotton. By the third year, the yield is certified as organic cotton.
Pakistanis the Efthlargestproducer of cotton in the world and the third largest exporter of raw cotton.
Cotton and its products contribute about 10 per cent to gross domestic product and 55pc to the foreign exchange earnings of the country.