March 18, 2019

ACF Wins 'Best NGO' in Cotton - Punjab

The Indian Council for Agricultural Research KVK (Krishi Vigyan Kendra) Mansa, Punjab honored ACF as the Best NGO working in the cotton sector. It is a tribute to the countless farmers who are now reaping the benefits of sustainable cotton production through the efforts of ACF and its partner, Better Cotton Initiative.
The Better Cotton Initiative focuses on minimizing the harmful impact of crop protection practices and encourages farmers to use water efficiently and with care.  In Bathinda, Punjab, the BCI program started in 2010 with just 700 farmers.  Today the number has swelled to 33,000 farmers who learn, year round, via demonstrations and transfer of technical knowledge.  

"Farmers in Bathinda face some unique challenges when growing cotton." Said Rajesh Kumar Suthar, Project Executive - Agro Based Livelihoods, ACF Bathinda.  "The region is more prevalent to white flies, thrips and jassids - pest insects that can destroy a crop.  In 2015, an outbreak of white fly decimated cotton crops in the area, and so we have been focusing on implementing an Integrated Pest Management program to control pests, working in collaboration with various Government Departments."

With Pests under control in the area, the focus has now shifted to Water Reosurce Management.  In Punjab, farmers use groundwater, and free electricity provided by government means that they do no use water efficiently.   ACF's BCI program is promoting the use of drip irrigation and educating farmers on the need for judicious use of water, to protect the resource for generations to come.

The program has seen a reduction in inputs (eg. from 6 rounds of pesticide, to 4 rounds of combination pesticide), and an increase in production - where local farmers are producing 20 quintals per hectare, BCI farmers in Bathinda are producing 23-24 quintals per hectare.  

And of course this means an increase in profits for farmers ...

Currently in its seventh year of operation, the BCI project has made giant strides in expansion across ACF locations.  Recently, ACF participated in the BCI Annual Meet in Udaipur where all personnel reflected on the year gone by and outlined plans for the next year - including the increased capacity building of Field Facilitators and Producer Unit Managers, and expansion into more communities.
March 18, 2019

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