The cotton and textiles sector accounts for 40% of Pakistan’s total labour force and nearly 60% of exports. Despite its significance, cotton, owing it to its environmental footprint, is thought to be the world’s ‘dirtiest’ crop. Other than the notoriously excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers at the cultivation stage, there is considerable wastage of water, a resource which should be utilized wisely in this semi arid country. At the ginning level, direct environmental impacts result mainly from high energy consumption and inefficient production processes.
Through this Action, WWF aims to expand its efforts further up the supply chain and specifically target cotton ginning Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Pakistan, to ensure this critical sector is also addressed in the endeavours to develop a sustainable cotton supply chain from the farm to the final product. For cotton gins to support more sustainable production of cotton, they need to procure Better Cotton (thereby reducing the negative environmental and socioeconomic impacts arising from unsustainable cotton cultivation) and improve their own ginning practices. This Action will focus on: demonstrating the importance of sustainable cotton production for their business to ginners; developing ginners’ links to both Better Cotton farmers and procurers; and developing and encouraging adoption of more efficient and sustainable practices.
Overall Objective: By 2040, sustainable production and consumption in the cotton market worldwide predominates as best practice, resulting in increased environmental sustainability and poverty reduction.
Specific Objective: By 2015, at least 500 cotton gin SMEs in Pakistan recognise the benefits of sustainable cotton production and consumption and 40% of these commit to more sustainable production practices, in line with agreed better ginning practice guidelines, and supported by the procurement practices of European retailers.
The project is implemented in Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, and Sukkur.
The SPRING project in collaboration with BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) organized a training on a bale tracking system at Bahawalpur. The objective of the training was to create an awareness regarding the importance and use of the Better Cotton Bale Tracking System, developed by BCI to provide assurance that Better Cotton bales on sale contain Better Cotton. The system is used to record and trace the volume of Better Cotton produced and ginned. This enables the BCI Members to access the system and view ginners' inventories of Better Cotton and search for available Better Cotton. This training provided an opportunity to the ginners to gain knowledge regarding cotton bale tracking system, code identification, unique bale identification code etc. After the training, the participating ginners appraised the workshop as very useful in enabling them to understand and implement the BCI better cotton bale tracking system.
At the end of the training Mr. Masood Ahmed Khitran, Coordinator, SPRING project, thanked the participants for showing keen interest and active participation in the training.
The SPRING project held a stakeholder meeting on 20th November, 2012 at Bahawalpur. The meeting aimed at sharing project's recent achievements, anticipated activities in upcoming months and mutual expectations among stakeholders & WWF-P. The meeting will be held on quarterly bases. In the meeting each stakeholder presented briefly outcomes of joint activities conducted including integrated gap analysis of ginning efficiency, quality and productivity, safety and risk assessment survey in selected ginning SMEs. Furthermore, possibilities of establishing research centers for ginning sector were also investigated.
On July 2012, WWF-Pakistan, lead partner in the SWITCH-Asia Project Sustainable cotton Production in Pakistan’s cotton Ginning SMEs, signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Textile Industry to promote proper picking procedures and better ginning practices among the cotton growers and ginners. The agreement sets out the terms and conditions under which WWF-Pakistan and Pakistan Cotton Standards Institute (PCSI) under the project Sustainable cotton Production in Pakistan’s cotton Ginning SMEs shall jointly undertake activities to promote proper picking procedures and better ginning practices among the cotton growers and ginners of the project area through on farm / factory demonstrations for the production of clean cotton.
The 12th of March marked the kick off event of the SWITCH-Asia project Sustainable cotton production in Pakistan ginning SMEs (SPRING). SPRING aims to specifically support cotton ginning SMEs in Pakistan as a step to ensure sustainability across the supply chain from the farm to final product. This project will focus on demonstrating the importance of sustainable cotton production for business to ginners; developing ginners’ links to farmers and producers of better cotton; and developing and encouraging adoption of more efficient and sustainable practices. Research & capacity building activities planned under the new four-year initiative will foster knowledge and experience sharing, capacity building of ginning SMEs & will develop linkages between leading EU cotton retailers/brands with the support of key stakeholders such as Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA), Small & Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), Pakistan Cotton Standards Association (PCSI), National Textile University (NTU) and Cleaner Production Institute (CPI).