ICAC, ITC join hands to double yields of 50,000 Zambian cotton farmers

09 Jul '21
2 min read
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock

The International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have signed an agreement to work together to double the yields of at least 50,000 smallholder cotton farmers in Zambia by January 2024. The effort is part of a larger agreement that ITC signed with the European Union (EU) for support in the African country.

US-based ICAC is developing tools and training procedures specific to Zambia’s climate and soil characteristics as part of the agreement.

ICAC will deploy two of its most advanced technologies—the interactive, voice-based Soil & Plant Health app and the Virtual Reality Cotton Training Programme—for the initiative with ITC.

The Soil and Plant Health app, specifically designed for low-literacy users, will speak to the growers in Nyanja or Tonga, their local dialects.

Using GPS technology when it is first turned on, the app downloads local weather data and, when combined with its encyclopaedic knowledge, uses photos, videos and animations to help farmers troubleshoot any issues they are having with pests or diseases and guides them through global best practices for raising yields, an ICAC press release said.

Using one of the most advanced 3D cameras in the world, the Virtual Reality Cotton Training Programme uses a drone to shoot fields from multiple angles and then combines those different perspectives to create a ‘sphere’ of virtual reality around the user.

It allows farmers to immerse themselves in the experience of walking through any cotton field in the world, at any time of the season, to learn best practices.

The project has three major components: ITC will partner with ICAC to double yields within three years; seed cotton grading and pricing in close collaboration with the Cotton Board of Zambia; and artisanal fibre value addition to employ women and youth.

Formed in 1939, ICAC is an association of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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