New organic cotton varieties are now available to Indian farmers

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-09-21 13:00:00 – India

After over a decade of research, the Swiss organic agricultural research institute FiBL, has released two new varieties of organic cotton, which are the first ever cotton varieties of India bred under organic conditions.

The cultivars were created by FiBL Switzerland and its collaborators through a decentralized organic participatory breeding initiative.

Partner organizations in this initiative include Pratibha Syntex, Chetna Organic, CottonConnect, Action for Social Advancement (ASA), Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Gwalior University, Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola University (PDKV), and Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA).

The State Seed Sub Committee of Madhya Pradesh, the country's largest producer of organic cotton, has formally released the new kinds after testing them under organic circumstances.

On September 8th, 2022, the Committee approved the two original non-GM cotton cultivars for organic farming.

The newly introduced varieties are high-yielding and conform to standards for industrial fiber quality. They come from two separate varieties of cotton: Gossypium arboreum, also called traditional cotton or Desi cotton, and Gossypium hirsutum, often known as American upland cotton. Both were bred organically and may be used in low-input, regenerative, organic, and agroecological farming systems.

Amritbir Riar, project leader of the Seeding the Green Future (SGF) project and deputy leader of the Department of International Cooperation at FiBL Switzerland, said that these varieties do not only improve agrobiodiversity and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, but they also ensure their right to choose from Desi and American upland cotton without having any negative impact on productivity, profitability, and quality of their cotton.

Researchers from RVSKVV, PSL, and FiBL Switzerland found that the non-GM Desi Cotton variety RVJK-SGF-1 produced 21.05% more seed cotton than the benchmark variety.

The variety develops in 144–160 days after exhibiting, with good fiber length (28.77 mm), and high fiber strength (27.12 g/tex).

Scientists from RVSKVV, Chetna Organic, and FiBL Switzerland created the non-GM American Cotton variety RVJK-SGF-2, which is a medium-sized (96-110 cm) plant of the medium maturity group that matures in 145-155 days after exhibiting. It outperformed the standard for seed cotton output by 21.18 percent. The variety features long fibers (29.87mm), which meet industrial standards, and high fiber strength (29.92 g/tex). It is also discovered to be ideal for spinning yarn with a 20s to 50s count to produce high-quality fabric.

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