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QUETTA – In addition to the loss of lives, homes, and livelihoods due to the floods in Pakistan, the unprecedented monsoon rainfall has also damaged crops on over 1 million hectares of land including the province of Balochistan, where 13,000 organic and in-conversion cotton farms are located.

These crops – so valuable to local communities – are now submerged in floodwater which in addition to the overall national disaster, also comes as a huge setback for the work of the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) in Pakistan, which this year aimed to adapt its farm programme for specific regional needs to lay the groundwork for growth in the field of organic agriculture and cotton trade.

Consequently, the OCA is urging its supporters to donate generously to WWF Pakistan to provide targeted support to this impoverished rural cotton area. “Farmers there will need all the help they can get, so we encourage our community to donate toward this cause as well,” it said in a statement.

WWF Pakistan has dedicated two accounts for donations (one in USD and the other in PKR), as shown in this box:

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) also reports that cotton farmers in its programme have been impacted dramatically and it expects cotton fibre supplies to be affected – although to what extent is still unclear. “More than 330 Better Cotton field facilitators are reporting either damage to their homes or loss of crops and livestock and our partners continue to try to reach our network to ensure everyone is safe,” it said in a statement.

Pakistan was among the first regions to grow BCI cotton after it was first launched in the country with considerable support from IKEA.

Speaking to the Dawn, a national newspaper, the former chairman of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Dr Yusuf Zafar, industry estimates showed that the recent damages, “inclusive of losses to Balochistan’s organic cotton crop, indicate around 6 – 7 million bales will have to be imported (in total),” he said.

Last year, the OCA partnered with agriculture specialist organisation CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International), based in Islamabad, to understand the national organic growers’ challenges and opportunities across the new and existing cotton growing regions.

And on the publication of a new OCA report earlier this year, the organisation said there was huge potential for the organic cotton sector in Pakistan, where it had witnessed ‘lots of positive energy and support’ from key industry partners in the country.

Prior to the floods, the OCA was busy working to build partnerships with organisations on the ground in Pakistan to grow domestic organic cotton production and invest in the enabling environment required for a healthy and thriving organic sector.

The OCA concludes that many of its supporters will be able to help with the ongoing disaster relief efforts that are getting underway and says the WWF Pakistan can provide a substantial means of support for those impacted in the cotton-growing areas of Balochistan.

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