Soorty, Pakistan's largest vertically integrated denim firm, has initiated an organic cotton project called SOCI in collaboration with WWF Pakistan and the Department of Agriculture Extension, Balochistan, as well as the Laudes Foundation's support and feedback.
The Soorty Organic Cotton Initiative (SOCI) seeks to start an "organic cotton movement," according to a release from Soorty, which comes as consumers' demand for responsibly and ethically sourced products.
This latest ecological project is Soorty's way of collaborating with farmers from the district of Balochistan to turn their smallholdings into purely organic farmlands for the long term. It's a project for "community uplift," says Soorty, and it's even more than just organic farming.
The director at Soorty Enterprises, Asad Soorty explains that SOCI isn't all about growing organic cotton. SOCI aims to improve the lives of the farming families in this deprived area by providing them with a higher income, quality education, and access to specialized health care. It's about building a blockchain-based transparent digital marketplace and traceability system to revolutionize the way cotton is purchased. They're excited about the opportunities ahead of them because this is their first venture into farming.
The first project to be launched in the area is in Nall, a subdivision of Balochistan's Khuzdar district, about 300 kilometers from Quetta city, the provincial capital. People in this predominantly rural area depend heavily on agriculture and husbandry for survival, and basic government services such as schooling, health, and utilities are virtually non-existent, according to Soorty.
Over the next four years, the organic program will put about 7,000 acres of land under organic production, producing over 17,000 metric tonnes of seed cotton and 6,000 metric tonnes of cotton lint.
Soorty is also emphasizing blockchain-based accountability, monitoring, and traceability of all its organic cotton, as well as stringent and regular GMO testing at any level of the chain, to ensure the integrity of the organic cotton. SOCI will not only increase organic cotton cultivation and help underprivileged agricultural communities improve their livelihoods, but it will also establish health and education interventions to improve the locals' quality of life.
The senior director of WWF Pakistan, Dr. Masood Arshad said that the collaboration will help to accelerate organic cotton production and will serve as a blueprint for other local textile companies and foreign brands.
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