MP, C&A Foundation Join Hands To Improve Organic Cotton Supply Chain

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A recent event, Cotton Trailblazers, highlighted Madhya Pradesh's global leadership in organic cotton production and the role of organic cotton cultivation in improving the livelihood of farmers. C&A Foundation, the corporate foundation of global retailer C&A, jointly hosted the event with Madhya Pradesh government at Swarna Jayanti Sabhagar, RCPV Norohna Academy of Administration in Bhopal.

The event facilitated a dialogue between stakeholders of the organic cotton supply chain on working collaboratively to build a robust and resilient organic cotton sector. The programme was attended by government representatives including policy makers and members from academia; stakeholders from across the organic cotton supply chain including representatives of international brands and retailers as well as farmers engaged in organic cotton production.

The speakers highlighted the challenges the sector was facing and called on stakeholders to work jointly towards building a prosperous value chain for organic cotton that benefits everyone from farm to store -farmers, manufacturers, brands, research institutes, and civil society.

Sustainable Raw Materials of C&A Foundation head, Anita Chester said, "This event highlights that it is the collective and focused effort from all stakeholders of the organic cotton ecosystem in the state, brands, retailers, supply chain actors, civil society members, academicians and the state government, that need to come together and support the real heroes of this sector – the organic cotton farmer."

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Minister for farmer welfare & agriculture development,  Gauri Shankar Bisen said, " Through this international summit, we want to encourage farmers to adopt organic cotton farming and hope to organise many more events like this in the future, to create awareness and build enthusiasm amongst farmers for organic farming."

Department principal secretary, Dr. Rajesh Rajora, said that government is setting up country's first dedicated Centre of Excellence for organic research centre in Mandla and Organic Cotton Research in Khandwa. Soon, Madhya Pradesh will become the first state in India with a dedicated Agriculture Produce and Export Promotion Agency that will also boost organic cotton export, he added.

MP Leads In Organic Cotton Production Madhya Pradesh in one of the leading states in the country in organic cotton production. Madhya Pradesh produces one quarter of the total world's organic cotton. "Therefore, there is a need for better marketing arrangement for organic cotton being produced in the state at national and international level", according to Bisen.

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Bisen mentioned that demand for organic cotton has increased in the field of medical science. Best cotton production of Nimar area of the state has carved its special niche in the country. Farmers of Nimar area have shown interest in organic cotton production during the last 3-4 years. Rajora said that organic cotton of best quality is being produced in Khargone, Badwani, Jhabua and some districts of Nimar region. A policy has been prepared by the MP state government in 2011 to encourage organic products. Several facilities along with subsidy are being given to farmers.

While deliberating on measures to double farmers' income, Bisen urged voluntary organisations, working in the agriculture sector to work with the state government for effective implementation of government's programmes.

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The area of organic farming has increased seven times in the last seven years, & is around 6 lakh hectares now. Export of organic products could reach Rs 1000 crore from Rs 600 crore owing to organic cotton.                        

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