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Updates on bioRe cotton farming in India and Tanzania

19
Jul '12
Markus Kunz, Remei AG’s environmental officer, reports on organic farming by bioRe India and Tanzania. Organic cotton farming is a real and exciting challenge. It demands total transparency and integrity.

A great deal of administrative effort, such as extension services, documentation and internal control, is required in order to safeguard the integrity of organic cotton. In India registration and inspection are now performed by means of a web-based system called TraceNet, a tool provided by the agricultural authority to guarantee an overview of the status, size, quantities and certification pertaining to all businesses. Smooth running of all processes as well as communication are the responsibility of the bioRe partner projects in India and Tanzania.

Throughout the year the whole management of the farm and its fields is documented accurately in so called farm books. The documentation includes received seeds from bioRe India, field size, applied organic fertiliser, yield estimation, purchased cotton, and so on.

Moreover since last season all organic cotton projects in India have to register production details, GPS location of fields, area of each farmer, internal inspection reports and all quantities purchased on to the web-based certification data management system TraceNet, introduced by APEDA, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. On the one hand the data entry increases the administration work of each cotton project enormously, which can be a burden. bioRe India had to employ three additional staff members for the required work. On the other hand, due to TraceNet organic cotton from India is at last reliable.

Another big challenge for organic projects in India is to produce GMO-free seed. Since GMO cotton is all over India it is very difficult to get GMO- free seeds and to avoid contamination. According to that fact bioRe has implemented since several years a strict GMO control system, including GMO testing of seeds and cotton delivery from each farmer at the point of purchasing. One of the very few countries which are still GMO free is Tanzania from where bioRe cotton can also be procured.

Remei


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