- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
Pakistan’s largest vertically integrated denim company, Soorty has launched an organic cotton initiative in partnership with WWF Pakistan and the Department of Agriculture Extension, Balochistan, along with support and input from the Laudes Foundation.
The Soorty Organic Cotton Initiative (SOCI) aims to create an “organic cotton revolution” explains Soorty in a statement, and comes as consumers preference for responsibly and ethically sourced products becomes the norm.
Denim it adds is “undergoing a profound revolution” and this new sustainable initiative is Soorty’s way of working with farmers from the district of Balochistan to transform their smallholding into exclusively organic farmlands over the long term.
It is much more than just organic farming, adds Soorty, but as a project for “community uplift”.
“SOCI goes beyond just cultivating organic cotton,” explains Asad Soorty, director at Soorty Enterprises in a statement. “SOCI is about uplifting the farming families of this deprived region through higher income, better schooling and access to professional health services. It’s about transforming the way cotton buying is conducted, by creating a blockchain-based transparent digital marketplace and traceability mechanism. This is our first foray into farming, and we’re excited by the possibilities in front of us.”
Soorty looking to cultivate more organic cotton and support farming communities
The first project to be implemented in the region is at Nall, a sub-division of Khuzdar District of Balochistan, almost 300 kilometres from the provincial capital, Quetta City. People from this largely rural region rely heavily on income from agriculture and husbandry to survive and basic government services like education, health and utilities are practically absent, adds Soorty.
Its organic initiative will bring an area of approximately 7,000 acres under organic cultivation producing over 17,000 metric tons of seed cotton and 6,000 metric tons of cotton lint over the next four years.
To ensure the integrity of the organic cotton, Soorty is also emphasising blockchain-oriented transparency, tracking and traceability of all its organic cotton along with rigorous and frequent GMO testing at every step of the chain.
SOCI will not only scale up organic cotton cultivation and help improve livelihoods of targeted underprivileged farming communities, but also develop health and education interventions to improve the quality of life for the locals.
WWF Pakistan, senior director, Dr Masood Arshad, added: “The partnership will help accelerate organic cotton cultivation and will be a model for other local textile entities as well as international brands.”
Images: courtesy of Soorty