Overall goal

The overall goal of the project is to improve the availability of non-GM cotton seeds of genetic improved cotton cultivars specifically suited for organic farming systems.

Objectives

  • Securing the availability & accessibility of  non-GM seeds for organic cotton production and organic textiles
  • Safeguarding genetic diversity & improvement of non-GM G. hirsutum and traditional Desi (G. arboreum) cotton including modern technologies
  • Continuing & initiating participatory cotton breeding programs by training trainers, farmers and students
  • Scaling up on-station and on-farm cultivar testing and seed production under organic conditions
  • Developing a portfolio of new cotton cultivars with
  • Improved agronomic performance (yield, yield stability, tolerance against drought, flooding, pest and diseases, easy picking), high fiber quality (staple length: 28+; micronaire: 3.8 – 4.5; strength: >28 HVI modus) and good ginning outturn, adapted to the various local organic growing conditions (different regions, soil fertility, irrigation regime, cropping systems), high resilience towards climate change (unpredictable rainfall, unexpected cool or hot temperature, air humidity, flooding, etc.) and high adoption rate by farmers incl. anticipated changes in cultivation (mechanization)
  • Facilitating local capacity building with special focus on female farmers in cultivar evaluation, breeding and seed multiplication to achieve seed sovereignty, income security and rural development
  • Identifying bottlenecks in the adaption of improved cultivars and the uptake of own seed multiplications by farmers through socio-economic studies
  • Enhancing the transdisciplinary collaboration among the various actors and stakeholders along the value chain
  • Enhancing the international network and exchange of material, methods and information across geographic regions (South-South transfer)
  • Demonstrating and disseminating breeding gains of participatory cotton breeding to farmers, stakeholders of the textile industry, the policy makers and the scientific community
  • Creating awareness among consumers in Switzerland for the benefit of organic cotton with respect to human health, environmental and social responsibility