Milliner Cotton Organic Project Harvests Certified Transition Crop – Sourcing Journal
The Milliner Cotton Organic project harvested its first-ever transitional certified organic cotton crop this season, a milestone that Omer Ahmed, CEO of parent company Artistic Milliners, described as “the first of many to come”. .
Cotton harvested in the Kohlu region of Balochistan, Pakistan, where Artistic Milliners is based, marks a new achievement for the Milliner Cotton Organic project, a collaboration with Danish fashion company Bestseller focused on promoting the transparency of the value chain in the organic cotton sector. The project will use the momentum it has gained over the past two years to transition to the Farmer Engagement and Development (FED) program in the Organic Cotton Accelerator, a multi-stakeholder initiative entirely focused on promoting cotton. organic. The FED aims to give farmers greater security while advocating for better organic cotton prices.
Ahmed hailed the harvest as “a game-changer in Pakistan’s cotton industry”.
“We are here to bridge the gap between supply and demand for organic cotton” for Bestseller, a long-time partner brand, he added.
Ahmed said the Milliner Cotton Organic project, which works with more than 2,000 farmers and nearly 9,300 acres of land, struggled to get its hands on “good quality organic cotton seed” early on.
“We had very few hundreds of bags of seed to provide to farmers,” he said. “For us, with every challenge came a learning opportunity. For this upcoming season, our implementing partner World Wildlife Fund has helped us purchase 9,500 non-GMO seeds worth PKR 30 million [$147,000] and distributed them for free to 2,000 farmers in Kohlu.
Haju Bangul, a farmer from Kohlu working with the Milliner Cotton Organic project, described the experience of transitioning to organic cotton harvesting a year after joining the effort.
Last year, WWF, Artistic Milliners and the Government of Balochistan’s Agricultural Extension Department “taught us organic cotton cultivation and the method of preparing organic pesticides and gave us a bag of organic seeds,” said said Bangul, pointing to WWF’s automated machine that prepares 5 liters of organic concentrated pesticide from 40 kg of plant material in an hour.
Bangul said animators from WWF and the arts field visit his farm every week and offer support from sowing to harvesting the cotton.
This year, Bangul said a single bag of seeds almost doubled its yield from previous years, harvesting about 4,674 pounds of cotton from around 2,050 to 2,460 pounds.
Going organic, he added, also offers “ecological and health benefits”.
“The synthetic pesticides were harming my colleague’s health,” he continued. “After the cotton harvest, I planted wheat and my land is giving better yields than ever. I thank WWF, Artistic Milliners and the Government of Balochistan for their support.
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