Obviously the number of persons affected are very much larger than in USA
A young Mexican girl drinking water from an empty pesticide container. This picture strongly demonstrates the lack of education about the dangers of pesticides in rural areas of the developing world including india
beneath cotton's natural fiber lies a long chain of chemically-intensive, "unnatural" processes. To bring this delicate plant to harvest, it is heavily sprayed - 8 to 10 times a season - with poisonous pesticides they gradually render fields barren. And that's just the beginning. Need for organic cotton
Like most technologies, pesticides are not neutral. Manufacturers insist that they are selective, wiping out undesirable elements and leaving others unharmed. The list of tragic accidents involving chemicals used on cotton, however, is lengthy. The 1984 gas leak at the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India - which included chemicals used on cotton - speaks for hazardous effects An estimated 25 million people worldwide are poisoned by pesticides every year, which translates to 48 per minute. It is almost universally agreed that pesticide exposure heightens the risk of cancer.
So much is made of the economic advantages of pesticides by chemical companies interested in sales But little is said of the hidden costs, the contamination of soil and ground water, the negative effects on farmers, farm workers, aquatic and wildlife.
Organic farmers use biologically-based rather than chemically-dependent growing systems to raise crops.
Organic farming starts with the soil. replace synthetic fertilizers to keep the soil healthy and productive. Fields must be free of synthetically-derived chemicals to achieve organic certification.
Weeds are controlled by innovative farm machinery, hand labor or flame devices rather than herbicide applications.
Organic cotton certification INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION FOR ORGANIC AGRICULTURE MOVEMENT [IFOAM] has formulated standards and guidelines for organic cotton cultivation and are followed by many labeling agencies to certify organic cotton and other farm produce.
Excerp from "Cotton, Pesticides and Suicides," by Jitedra Verma, posted in the Earth Island On-line Journal. Verma is a reporter for Down to Earth magazine (Centre for science and environment
"Since the beginning of the new year, not a single day has passed without one cotton farmer committing suicide," says a farmer in Warangal, where almost the entire standing cotton crop has been devastated, placing communities on the brink of starvation. Faced with a raging attack on the cotton crop by Spodoptera litura (tobacco cutworm) and Heliothis armigera (American bollworm), frantic Andhra Pradesh farmers were begging to pesticide suppliers for giving pesticides on credit. But the indiscriminate application of pesticides only led to increased resistance in pests. While pests continued to ravage crops, debts of farmers mounted and the noose tightened.
INDIAN COTTON India is the third largest producer of cotton Percentage of agriculture land under cotton production in India: 5 per cent (8.9 million hectares) Percentage of total pesticide used for cotton cultivation 54 per cent cotton makes for 70 per cent of the textile sector's raw material
Vidarbha organic farmers Association(VOFA 1993 Visit of Envirnmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA) Hamburg Germany to Central Cotton Research Institute, (CICR) Nagpur To confirm organic cotton farming in Vidarbha EPEA confirmed organic cotton in Vidarbha 1994 Organization of 135 farmers from five districts Nagpur, Wardha, Yavatmal, Amravati and Akola 1995 commitment of 12,00 hectares land for organic cotton cultivation 1995 Formation of Vidarbha Organic Farmers Association 1996 Bumper crop of organic cotton
Present status of VOFA 205 Members 90 Practicing organic farmers 3500 Acres area under organic cotton farming Purchaser: Fare Trade Company Japan
Voluntary organizations in organic cotton production VOFA (VIDARBHA ORGANIC FARMERS ASSOCIATION), MOFA (MAHARASHTRA ORGANIC FARMERS ASSOCIATION), have been formed either by farmers groups interested in organic cotton cultivation or to assist such groups by offering technical assistance. yield level of 500-750 kg/ha. The technological properties of organic cotton micronaire (3.8-5.0), span length (25.5-29.9 mm) and fibre maturity parameters similar to fibres produced by conventional methods
Organic cotton production in India 14-15 lakh bales of uncertified organic cotton (Cotton corporation of India) Estimated certified organic cotton 1000 tons Total world production 8150 tons 15% of total world production 37% Asian countries production
WHY ORGANIC FARMING Large retailers are profitably marketing garments made of organic cotton Consumer preference for environment friendly products Market advantage for environment friendly products Future generation: Our farming and manufacturing methods should pass on clean environment to our children and grandchildren for their health and happiness Cleaner approach : organic cotton saves 30% of harmful synthetic fertilizers and farm chemicals Forthcoming regulations to ban toxic agriculture chemicals