Sunday March 29, 2020
Home India Eco-Friendly ...

Eco-Friendly Fabric Demands Propel Organic Cotton Farming in India

0
//
representational image. pixabay

Barku Jairam, a 55-year-old farmer from Barwani of Madhya Pradesh, has taken up cultivating organic cotton, which he claims, has significantly brought down input costs besides ensuring a decent yield.

The demand for organic cotton from global apparel companies has prompted 1,000-odd farmers in the state to switch to eco-farming to grow cotton using bio-fertilisers and pesticides manufactured from medicinal plants.

The C&A foundation — the corporate foundation of fashion retail clothing chain C&A — has tied up with a few non-profits in the country to promote organic cotton farming as a part of its efforts to procure sustainable raw material for its business.

Although yields from organic farming are lower than by using Genetically Modified (GM) seed, chemical fertilisers and pesticides, the negligible input cost makes it a profitable business, Jairam said.

 

"Till three years ago, I would earn up to Rs 27,000 per acre when I used GM hybrid seeds but the input cost would be around Rs 20,000 due to expensive chemical pesticides and fertilisers.
representational image. pixabay

 

“Till three years ago, I would earn up to Rs 27,000 per acre when I used GM hybrid seeds but the input cost would be around Rs 20,000 due to expensive chemical pesticides and fertilisers.

“Now, I earn around Rs 20,000 per acre but the input cost has reduced to just Rs 5,000,” Jairam told IANS.

Farmers like Jairam produce bio-fertiliser for free from manure and agricultural waste from their fields and pesticides from extracts of medicinal plants such as neem, karanj (pongamia), ratanjot (alkanet root), besharam (ipomoea) and custard apple leaves along with cow urine.

 

Non-profits Aga Khan Foundation and Action for Social Advancement are helping the C&A Foundation in promoting and procuring organic cotton.

According to the Union Agriculture Ministry, 30.01 million bales (of 170 kg each) of cotton — roughly 5.1 billion tonnes — were produced in the country in 2015-16.

 

"Till three years ago, I would earn up to Rs 27,000 per acre when I used GM hybrid seeds but the input cost would be around Rs 20,000 due to expensive chemical pesticides and fertilisers.
cotton plant. pixabay

 

The ministry, however, doesn’t give out the breakup of organically grown cotton vs other methods.

At 60,184 tonnes, India was the largest organic cotton producer in the world in 2015-16, accounting for 56 per cent of the total production of 107,980 tonnes while Madhya Pradesh accounted for 24 per cent, as per the C&A Foundation. Organic cotton accounted for less than one per cent of cotton produced globally.

Another farmer, Dhansingh Ghana, said hybrid seeds for organic farming were provided for free for first three years by the foundation as incentives to make them self-reliant.

“Even if we will have to pay for seeds now, the input cost would not be much as major components such as bio-fertilisers and pesticides are still free,” said Ghana.

According to these farmers, who had come to the state’s capital Bhopal to attend an event on organic farming, the foundation gave them Rs 200-300 more per quintal when compared with the government rates.

 

According to the Union Agriculture Ministry, 30.01 million bales (of 170 kg each) of cotton -- roughly 5.1 billion tonnes -- were produced in the country in 2015-16. The ministry, however, doesn't give out the breakup of organically grown cotton vs other methods.
Organic Cotton Balls, Pixabay

 

Anita Chester, Head of Sustainable Raw Materials of C&A Foundation, said the negative impact of climate change has driven brands across the globe to look for sustainable alternatives.

“The way climate change is impacting all of us, the whole industry thinks that the businesses have to be more responsible.

“In this inequitable world, there is growing consciousness that there has to be more equity in what we do. This is what drives the brands to push themselves and set targets to source sustainable materials,” she said.

Organic cotton production needs 93 per cent less water as compared to the conventional cotton cultivation, according to the foundation. It also said the climate change impact is of 338.5 kg CO2 equivalent by organic cotton as opposed to 680.2 kg CO2 equivalent by conventional cotton.

"Till three years ago, I would earn up to Rs 27,000 per acre when I used GM hybrid seeds but the input cost would be around Rs 20,000 due to expensive chemical pesticides and fertilisers.
cotton plantation, pixabay

The brands have sustainability commitment and so the demand for organic material is very strong now, said Chester.

“They are giving clear signal that organic is important and special. So it needs to grow,” she said.

Chester said her foundation supports the farmers who want to go organic through capacity building and helping them in getting certification, which helps them to link with the markets.

While there are hurdles such as non-availability of seeds, lack of input agencies, poor market links for organic farming, the foundation is bringing all stakeholders, including the government to cross the barriers, she said.

"Till three years ago, I would earn up to Rs 27,000 per acre when I used GM hybrid seeds but the input cost would be around Rs 20,000 due to expensive chemical pesticides and fertilisers.
cotton plant. pixabay

Faiz Kidwai, Managing Director of the Madhya Pradesh Agriculture Marketing Board, sought a fixed price for farmers to promote organic cotton.

“There is a huge potential for organic farming in the state but farmers are not keen on doing it because they do not see any benefits due to lack of market, supply chain or value chain.

Also Read: Let Linen be Your Saviour This Summer

“We will have to assure fixed market price to bring them on board,” Faiz told reporters on the sidelines of the event. (IANS)

Next Story

India’s Lockdown Disrupts Functioning of Amazon and Flipkart

Amazon India Delivery and functioning of Essential Goods via. E-commerce companies Disrupted

0
Virus Outbreak Amazon
India's coronavirus lockdown is disrupting e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart. Pixabay

India’s coronavirus lockdown is disrupting e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart, despite government assurances it would not, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Differing state and district level regulations relating to the 21-day lockdown, which began on Wednesday, are hindering operations, the sources said on Friday, with e-commerce firms finding it difficult to get curfew passes for delivery staff.

The disruptions highlight the difficulties of ensuring the supply of essential goods to 1.3 billion people during the shutdown in India, which has so far reported 724 cases of coronavirus and 17 deaths. Most of Amazon’s 60 plus fulfillment centers in India are shut and the U.S. company is in talks with state authorities to try to reopen them, three of the sources said. Industry executives say local authorities have not followed guidelines, stopping deliveries and warehouses from operating.

Virus Outbreak Amazon
A sign is lit on the facade of an Amazon fulfillment center. VOA

“It’s worse than one can think,” one source said, while a second added that only a “miniscule” number of Amazon warehouses were operating, citing this as a key reason for disruptions. Even when operations do begin to return to normal, it will only be in major cities, the second source added.

Amazon said in a statement that its top priority was to deliver the products which customers need the most and it was seeking urgent help from federal government and local authorities with detailed on-the-ground operating procedures. In New Delhi, Amazon’s Pantry service was suspended and the delivery slot for essential goods, such as oil and soaps, was shown as being April 26.

“There are clear guidelines provided by Government to enable essential services, and so we are working with the relevant authorities to ensure we are able to operate,” Amazon said on Twitter in response to questions from users in India.

Indian trade minister Piyush Goyal held a meeting with e-commerce executives on Thursday and said the government was “committed to ensuring that essential goods reach the people.”

Also Read- Effects of Quarantine on Mental Health and Relationships

Walmart-owned Flipkart has also been hit, with some grocery items which had been available earlier on Friday in New Delhi intermittently going out of stock. A source familiar with the situation said Flipkart was facing challenges with last-mile delivery of goods once they leave its warehouse due to restrictions on movement.

Flipkart said in a statement it had resumed grocery operations and there was a significant spike in orders. “We are enhancing capacity to meet the increase in customer requirements,” it said, adding it had received support from local and federal authorities.  (VOA)