1. COTAAP PPP –
The World Economic Forum and Maharashtra State Agriculture Department developed a PPP platform wherein COTAAP participated as Extension Provider for Cotton. A total of 1625 farmers participated in the PPP Project over an area of 1825 acres. The Cotton Association of India and Agriculture Department, Govt of Maharashtra provided ﬁnancial support; while hybrid Bt-cotton seed was provided at subsidised rates by Mahyco Seeds, Jalna. COTAAP played a crucial role of coordinating the project by providing extension services while Arvind Ltd, Ahmedabad supported as end user of cotton produce.
2. Reduction in the use of Chemical Pesticides and Insecticides –
COTAAP has promoted the use of bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides and other eco-friendly practices which have significantly reduced the cost of insecticides and pesticides used by farmers and led to a more sustainable form of agriculture. The use of micro-nutrients has increased by 80% and the use of bio-pesticides has increased by 60%.
3. Reduction in the number of Cotton varieties –
Sowing numerous varieties of Cotton increases the chances of diseases and pests, hence making crop management difficult. The produce also shows variation in parameters which makes it challenging for the textile industry. Thus, COTAAP has motivated farmers to use specified varieties. As a result, there has been a reduction in the number of varieties from over 250 to less than 40. COTAAP has also collected variety wise samples for preservation as a valuable database.
4. Farmers’ Field School –
60 farmers have benefitted from the first Farmer’s Field School activity in 10 different villages. Participating farmers' fields were selected considering suitability for cotton cultivation, convenience for visit and organization of training programmes. Subject experts were called for training and interacting with farmers. Training was conducted on topics like: Technology and benefits of HDPS, role of bio fertilizers in soil improvement, deficiency symptoms of macro & micro nutrients, irrigation management and advantages of using drip irrigation and integrated methods of disease and pest control. The completion of this activity was marked and is celebrated as “Farmer’s Day”.
5. Pink Bollworm Awareness –
COTAAP oriented all its efforts in educating farmers and tackling the infestation when there was a sudden outbreak of pink bollworm in 2015. Precautionary sprays, pheromone traps and sticky traps were provided to minimize losses. In case of heavy infestation, the farmers were recommended to avoid maintaining crop for further flush to prevent disease in next generation.
6. Introduction of ELS
COTAAP introduced ELS(Extra Long Staple) variety, Mahyco-'Bahubali' in 2015-16. About 300 farmers planted this variety on 500 Acres of land and fetched a premium of Rs 800-1200 per quintal. This variety is seen as a potential substitute to imported cotton and will benefit all stakeholders in the cotton industry.