1. Agriculture World

Better Cotton Initiative Preparing its Farmers for New Cotton Season amid COVID-19

Garsha Sai Nitesh
Garsha Sai Nitesh

Harshal Bramhankar, a teacher and Better Cotton Initiative Field Facilitator along with his family stitched 600 face masks and distributed them to local communities who are mostly involved in cotton farming.

Better Cotton Initiative being implemented by Lupin Foundation has donated 15,500 masks and 1,850 hand sanitizers to families in the rural communities from selected districts. They delivered groceries for 1,000 farming families in the Dhule District and provided food supplies for 14,500 migrant farmworkers.

The Better Cotton Initiative(BCI) a non-profit organization is the world's largest cotton sustainability program, BCI provided training to farmers on more sustainability farming in 21 countries. They address the negative impact of mainstream cotton farming by production and sourcing of Better Cotton according to Better Cotton Principles and Criteria

As COVID-19 prevailed in India, the government imposed a lockdown for two months leaving many migrant farmworkers with no salary and work. Due to the fear of the virus, many went back to their homes. Farming Communities are also facing problems due to the damage caused to the supply chain by the virus. 

Chandrakant Kumbhani, General Manager at ACF, a BCI Implementing Partner in India in an interview with BCI CEO Alan McClay said, “As the risk of disease prevailing in rural areas is spreading, we are supporting the farming communities with small financial assistance like loans which will help them to pass the present crisis”. 

A BCI implementing partner Welspun Foundation used its network to spread awareness of the virus using WhatsApp and word of mouth said, “Welspun has created 253 BCI Learning Groups Whatsapp groups through which 3,528 farmers were shared with regular up-to-date information about the virus as per the WHO and Ministry of Health Guidelines”.

Indian farmers who grow paddy can now face problems has paddy production needs more labor. States governments like Punjab are pushing farmers to change crops from paddy to cotton, this situation will increase the growth of cotton production around the country. BCI implementing partners are continuing their training initiatives to keep farmers ready for the new cotton season.

“Coastal Salinity Prevention Cell (CSPC) teams along with BCI Field Facilitators are continuously engaging with farmers during the pandemic, Field Facilitators are making 20 calls a day to every BCI farmer, checking in with them about their plans for the coming cotton farming season, answering their queries and giving farming advice,” CSPC a BCI implementing partner said in the interview.

Chandrakant Kumbhani, General Manager at ACF added: “We are actively using our SMS and our community radio for broadcasting messages and in plans to make training materials accessible through QR codes on farmers smartphones”. 

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