What we do

Cotton has been used as a fibre in clothing and textiles for more than 5 000 years.
© WWF-India
The ‘Thirsty Crop’ project is operative in Warrangal district of Andhra Pradesh & Aurangabad district of Maharastra. The Project is:
  • testing a flexible package of Better Management Practices (BMP) for sugarcane & cotton in the local context to show reduced water, pesticide and inorganic fertilizer use, and to increase the gross margin of farmers.
  • working with farmers to encourage adoption and understand the problems arising
  • publicizing the approaches widely and enabling further adoption.
  • supporting BMP adoption and improved water basin management
  •  encouraging demand for better cotton and sugar within international framework

The Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative

The Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative in Aurangabad district of Maharastra has been implemented in the farmers’ field by WWF India, Aurangabad field office with the help from Technical Partner, Water & Land Management Institute. The intervention is also seen in the context of the sugarcane value chain by motivating sugar mills to make payment to farmer based on sucrose content. Field trials and demonstrations are undergoing. The result of the intervention is monitored by NABCONS

Key Achievements:
  • The project intervention resulted shift from high resource inputs to optimum input among the farmers cultivating sugarcane.
  • Due to improved water management practices, there has been a reduction of water consumption of almost 40%.
  • There has been a substantial increase in sugarcane yield for the farmers practicing BMPs thereby reflecting improvement in gross margin of farmer.
  • A significant improvement in cane quality has also been observed
  • Dissemination of technical knowledge resulted in skill development of village resource persons
© WWF-India
The Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative in Aurangabad district of Maharastra has been implemented in the farmers’ field by WWF-India
© WWF-India

Sustainable Cotton Initiative

WWF-India has launched Sustainable Cotton Initiative project in Aurangabad district with an aim to improve the ecosystem through sustainable use of soil, water and external resources. WWF India has partnered with local level institutions e.g. Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Jalna & DILASA, Aurangabad for proper implementation of BMPs among the farmers.

India Sustainable Cotton Initiative Phase-I was initiated in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh in the year 2006. Andhra Pradesh uses one fourth of pesticide, consumed in India and Warangal stands second in pesticide consumption in Andhra Pradesh.

Warangal lies in Godavari river basin, which is a WWF-Priority area. Godavari River is a major drinking and irrigation water source for six states of India where cotton is a majorly cultivated commercial crop.

The data from the survey in the year 2008-09 shows that:
  • The fertilizer use was reduced to 15 -30%
  • The Chemical pesticide use was reduced to 93.8% in non Bt and 49.4% in Bt 48.8%
  • The irrigated water use was reduced by 51%
  • The cost benefit ratio in BMP cotton is increased to 2.13 from 1.66
- (Monitoring and Evaluation report by CRIDA)

The project started in a micro river basin, chalivaagu basin in Shyampet, Regonda mandal (sub administration units in a district) of Warangal. The project is promoting Better Management Practices in 28 villages, with 1372 farmers (as in 2009).
© WWF-India
Rajita Nandse Cotton grower, 25, in the village of Nizampally
© WWF-India
“By preparing the land in different ways we have managed to reduce the amount of artificial fertilisers and chemicals. And it’s much better for our health. We are also offered training at the project’s Farmer Field School. The women that can’t attend in the mornings are offered evening lessons.” 
Rajita Nandse
Cotton grower, 25, in the village of Nizampally

Major Achievements (Phase –I)

  • WWF-India with the support of local NGO, MARI (Modern Architects for Rural India) mobilized farmers to attend the Farmer Field Schools through which the BMPs are demonstrated. 
  • The project encouraged and educated farmers to become members of farmer groups at village level to build linkages with the market and sustain the BMPs at field level. The Society is legally registered and conducts its meetings and trainings according to a schedule. 
The Second phase began in January 2008. Marks and Spencer, a UK based company and WWF-UK have become partners, to encourage the sustainable use of resources by cotton farmers, thereby sustaining ecosystem health and livelihoods for the community in Warangal district, Andhra Pradesh, India.

M&S is working with WWF to implement a cotton field project in India.This project will demonstrate the environmental, social and economic benefits of adopting Better Management Practices (BMP's) by reducing the use of pesticides, water and chemical fertilisers.

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