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Helvetas' BioCotton project revises plan in Kyrgyzstan
17
Apr '14
courtesy: Helvetas/S.B.Opladen
courtesy: Helvetas/S.B.Opladen
Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, one of the most experienced and largest development organisations in Switzerland, has revised its business and financial plans for its BioCotton project, with support of a short-term advisor Stuart Pettigrew, and the project’s partner organizations—Bio Farmer (a cooperative) and Bio Service Public Fund.
 
The revised plan was then presented to the donor, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), said a press release from Helvetas Kyrgyzstan.
 
As per the revised plan, 250 metric tons of organic cotton is planned to be produced in 2014 in Kyrgyzstan. For the purpose, new farmers have been selected and cotton seed have been distributed to them. Moreover, the organization is communicating with potential buyers of cotton. 
 
At present, the area under organic cotton is lower than planned, but the organization is still conducting activities to increase the area under cotton.
 
Helvetas started its activities in Kyrgyzstan in November 1994 with the Agroproject — restructured as the Kyrgyz-Swiss Agricultural Programme (KSAP), operating in close cooperation with the Kyrgyz Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources.
 
Currently, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation runs six projects in Kyrgyzstan, with BioCotton being one of them.
 
In 2003, the SECO, together with HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation (HSI) and the Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (Hivos), initiated the ‘Organic Cotton Production and Trade Promotion Project’ or BioCotton project in Kyrgyzstan. The goal was to promote organic farming in Central Asia and the trade of organic cotton and other organic products in international and domestic markets, allowing interested farmers to make their living.
 
The idea of organic agriculture rests on balancing economic profit with the sustainable management of natural resources. It does not allow the use of mineral fertilizers, synthetic pesticides or genetically modified organisms.
 
The organic farming project began with training of farmers in 2003. By Spring 2004 the first organic cotton production contracts were signed with 58 farmers, comprising 52 men and 6 women, for a total land area of 98 ha of which 61.9 ha were planned for cotton and 36.1 ha for other crops.
 
Over subsequent years, the production of organic cotton has been steadily increased to the point where 366 tons were exported successfully to Europe in 2012. By end of 2016, the project aims to achieve an export total of 500 tons of organic cotton.
 
The project also aims to make significant advances in product diversification, value-addition, and enhanced competitiveness and business strategies for Bio Farmer and Bio Service.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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