The Farmer Toolkit is a compilation of best practices - scientific research and farmers’ experiences - collected to provide crucial information on core organic cotton agricultural practices.The full toolkit can be downloaded here and the individual components are listed below.
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Certification and Internal Control Systems
Organic production systems have clearly defined standards which make the land and agricultural product produced to be marketed and sold as organic. Certification by an independent organization is required in most markets for agricultural products to be sold as organic.
Soil fertility is the foundation of sustainable and productive organic farming. When soil is well managed, pest pressure is reduced, water use is optimized, and yields will improve for all crops grown in the rotation. To be sustainable and to enable organic cotton production to grow to meet demand, soil fertility has to be a priority for farmers and farming projects.
The Agroecosystems Management component introduces the concept of maximizing yield in the cotton crop by identifying the success factors.
Biodiversity - a balanced agro-ecosystem helps reduce pest pressures and provides tools and ingredients for managing soil (green manures) and pests and diseases (botanical pesticide ingredients trap and refuge crops). Managing the rotation crops and other crops (farmed and wild) is also important to maximize the total returns from the farm as far as possible, both in cash terms and in terms of food security.
Crop nutrition should be appropriate for the type of soil, variety of cotton, environmental factors and the intensity of the attacks of pests and diseases. A plant with a balanced nutrition will have a greater chance of responding to adverse factors during their development.
Pest and Disease Management
Pests and diseases are important when generating economic damage. There are few pests that require control, and are dealt with by using inputs or natural methods that do not contaminate the agroecosystem.
Harvest and Quality Control
Good Quality fiber that is clean and free of non plant material contaminants is critical to produce high quality yarns which are needed for the organic fiber market. Measures taken to improve the quality of the fiber have direct and positive benefits for the farmer.