BETTER COTTON INITIATIVE PROJECT (BCI)
CIPT conducted a study during 2015 on environmental impact assessment of BCI and organic cotton cultivation vis-à-vis conventional cotton cultivation across 4 Indian states viz., Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab, funded by WWF-India. The study established a significant impact of BCI in terms of reduction in water use, pesticide use and the use of fertilisers as compared to the conventional cultivation. Organic cotton cultivation has also shown the impact on these indicators when compared to the conventional method. These findings point towards a significant positive impact on the environment with the adoption of BCI and organic cultivation.
However, in the initial phase of the study, some wide variations in the results have been observed across all the 4 states. In order to examine the state-wise variations (if any) and also the variations across sub-regions and farm-size categories, CIPT had undertaken the second phase of this study in 2017-18 which was more comprehensive in terms of its coverage and analysis. Also, a simultaneous assessment of the socio-economic impact was important in order to design a comprehensive strategy for future. Along with this, the study also examined socio-economic and environmental impacts of BCI, organic and conventional cotton cultivation and compare these methods of cultivation using various socio-economic and environment indicators such as crop profitability, cost of cultivation, employment opportunity, health and safety, water footprint, water productivity, pesticide application and environmental impact quotient (EIQ), greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, soil health and biodiversity.
Better Cotton Initiative has shown better water productivity (crop productivity per unit of water) by about 12% while organic cultivation has shown about 2% better water productivity when compared to the conventional cotton. BCI has worked even better than organic cotton when comes to water productivity and has shown around 7% better result as compared to organic cotton cultivation.