Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) Programme

Better Cotton Initiative Implementation experience

BCIGlobally and domestically, cotton is an important agricultural commodity. In India, cotton exports and not only a source of vital foreign exchange earnings, but also account for a substantial proportion of their GDP and tax income, leading to significant economic and social development. About 70% of the global cotton production comes from 4 countries, which include China(27%) , India (22%), USA(13%) and Pakistan(8%) . However the productivity is considerably low especially in rainfed areas.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has 22.69 lakh hectors of cotton cultivation during 2012-13. About 65% of cotton cultivation is under rained and Mahabubnagar district belongs to this category. The major constraints in cotton production has been the use of unsustainable production practices including intensive input application of pesticides and fertilizers, not following water and soil management techniques at individual farmer level, and poor harvesting and post harvest practices. Besides, poor supply chain linkages, environment, health, biodiversity and social impacts are the key issues need to be addressed for sustainable increase in cotton productivity and quality.

Better Cotton Initiative Programme ( BCI )

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a global nonprofit membership organization, supported by a range of stakeholders, such as producers. Global retailers, traders and financial institutions. The purpose of BCI is to promote strong supply chain linkages with measurable improvements in productivity and reduction in costs of cultivation without adversely affecting the environmental and social impacts.

Capacity building and field activities of BCI

PRDIS and Solidaridad Initiative on Better Cotton

As an endorsed BCI Implementing Partner, Solidaridad manages several projects in India in collaboration of local partners. PRDIS is chosen as Local Partner during 2011 based on its successful track record on productivity enhancement programmes over a decade. PRDIS worked with 2000 farmers ( 1000 farmers each from Boothpur and Bijinepally mandals with 8 villages in each mandal)grouped into 81 Learning Groups ( LGs) and each LG having about 25 farmers and covering an area of 2000 hectors. The coverage is increased to 2500 farmers in 2012 and continuing with same farmers during 2013.

The learning groups were empowered through Farmer Field Schools to reduce harmful impact of use fo chemicals, banned pesticides and to promote water conservation, soil health management, protection of natural habitat and management of fiber quality. Farmer Life Schools were used to imbibe knowledge and change attitude on Decent Work including Formation of Farmer organizations ( to take up supply chain activities and voice for betterment of farmers), arresting child labour, abolishing forced labour, controlling hazardous work done by people below 18 years , non-discrimination etc.

Cotton picking and procurement activities can be seen


The programme has amply demonstrated the potential as an holistic, futuristic sustainable agricultural extension model and contributed for increase in human, social and economic capital and establishment of market linkages. Farmers participating in the programme had 25-30 %higher yields than control farmers and were able to reduce the input costs specially due to reduction in use of pesticides ( 80%), Fertilizers (20%) there by able to get 60% of net additional income, participating farmers also benefited socially ( better capacities, organizations, recognition, working conditions and health benefits ) and the contribution to environment in terms of biodiversity is also acknowledged by farmers . Furthermore, the application of decent work criteria has contributed largely, especially in not using child labour, forced labour, indiscrimination etc. Thus the programme has lead to inclusive market oriented development and improvement of livelihood of cotton farmers.

PRDIS as an Implementing partner ( IP) for BCI

PRDIS is a member of BCI and a recognized IP for BCI. It is authorized to work with local partners in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka on BCI Programme from 2013. Initially Krushi Foundation – an NGO ( Karimnagar district) and We Care Society (WCS) – an NGO ( Karnatka) were chosen as Local Partners. During 2014, Sarvareddy Venkureddy Foundation for Development ( SVFD), Guntur is also added as local partner. This year the programme is being operated with about 12000 farmers ( mahabubnagar – 5000 by PRDIS, Karimnagar – 3500, Raichur – 3500, Guntur – 1000) and with 24000 Hectors. The BCFT, Solidaridad, Govt organizations, Universities and Supply chain partners are supporting the programme. We expect about 60000 MT of seed cotton ( 20000 MT of lint during the current session.

R & D effort

PRDIS in collaboration with state departments of Agriculture, Agricultural Universities and with support from H.U.F – Solidaridad and ATMA has undertaken R&D programmes in the Farmer Field Schools and demonstrations on Varietal trials, High Density Population, spacing, INM, water conservation, compost , mulching trails and Fibre quality in order to improve the yields, soil health, moisture conservation and Fibre quality, in addition to reducing the cost of cultivation. A Pilot initiative has been introduced on Trasability for Monitoring of field activities through Digital Mobile technology.

Future Strategy

The Programme will be scaled up in collaboration with BCI, BCFT, Supply chain stakeholders, farmers , Local partners and government to the extent of 50000 farmers covering 100000 hectors expecting 1 lakh MT of lint by end of 2016 harvesting season.

Supply Chain Partner

  1. AMIT COTTONS, Shadnagar, Mahabubnagar, of Telangana
  2. RKB Agro Industries, Raichur, Karnataka
  3. Kaveri Ginning Mills , Karimnagar

Technical Partners

  1. Prof. Jaya Shankar Telangana State Agriculture University
  2. Extension Education Institute, Rajendranagar
  3. Acharya N.G. Ranga Agriculture University, Andhra Pradesh
  4. University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur, Karnataka
  5. Department of Agriculture , Telangana & Andhra Pradesh


Mahabubnagar, Karimnagar of Telangana,
Guntur of Andhra Pradesh
and Raichur in Karnataka

Cotton Parameters

Variety Bt 2 ( Bunny, Tulasi, Marvel, Jadhu, Prateek, ATM Etc)
Staple length 30 to 32mm
Micronaire ( Avg) 4.0 to 5.0
Strength Min 28gm/tex
Trash < 10 %