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Participants of GIFT’s second open programme in 2009 spent eight days working on site with the Pohan Farmer’s Association (PFA) in order to develop a plan for the association to convert from conventional to organic cotton production and access new markets for their products. Cotton is among the dirtiest crops, using about 25 per cent of the world’s insecticides and 10 per cent of the world’s pesticides. Organic cotton production has the advantage of promoting soil fertility, and also allows for diverse agriculture while keeping human contact with toxic chemicals to a minimum. The briefing note also discusses the challenges facing rural farmers in China, such as environmental deterioration and inefficiencies of small scale farming.
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