COTTON: Cotton Partnership projects to enter a fourth phase
Plans are being finalised for IKEA to continue to work with WWF in cotton projects in India and Pakistan for another three years. This fourth phase aims at taking the work started in 2005 to the next level, enabling more and more farmers to adopt more sustainable cotton farming practices and meet the Better Cotton criteria.
With the introduction of better management practices, farmers can reduce the cost of cotton production whilst also reducing the most severe impacts on the environment by using less water, pesticides and fertilisers. Over the past year, the project teams in Pakistan and India have also started to build farmers’ capacity to tackle social and working conditions through knowledge partners; preventing hazardous work and child labour, improving health and safety and ensuring freedom of association. This is an important step towards complying with the “decent work” related criteria for Better Cotton.
IKEA and WWF will continue to work together to strengthen local farmers’ institutions and to provide information and training to facilitate the shift from conventional cotton farming to Better Cotton farming.
A national Knowledge Resource Centre for more sustainable cotton production is planned to be established in India, creating a state-of-the-art knowledge hub and outreach centre for various stakeholders involved in producing more sustainable cotton. The Partnership will also continue to work with farmers across 8,000 hectares in Maharashtra for another two years.
“The Knowledge Resource Centre will be helpful to fill the knowledge gaps in various institutions that are engaged to bring sustainability to the cotton sector”, says Murli Dhar, Associate Director, Water and Agriculture programme, WWF India.
In Pakistan, the Partnership is planning to support around 42,000 project farmers by strengthening farmers’ organisations so that they can continue to support Better Cotton production in the long term.
"It is very important to strengthen Producer Organisations, both, technically and financially for the sustainability of Better Cotton System and for the long term production of Better Cotton", says Arif Makhdum, Director Sustainable Agriculture at WWF Pakistan.
New aspects of the Partnership are planned to start to assess water and greenhouse gas footprints of cotton production in India and Pakistan, and the development of action plans in discussions with key stakeholders.
“It is essential to understand regional footprints to develop strategies that can reduce cotton’s environmental impact on a bigger scale,” says Murli Dhar, Associate Director, Water and Agriculture programme, WWF India.
Read more about WWF and cotton
Read more about IKEA and cotton