BCI joins forces with Global Soil Partnership to improve soil health

In an effort to promote more sustainable soil management in the cotton sector, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has partnered with the Global Soil Partnership (GSP).

BCI is working on two pilot projects in conjunction with the Global Soil Partnership: Soil Doctors, a farmer-to-farmer training program, and Recsoil, a carbon sequestration program that pays farmers for the amount of carbon stored in the soil.

The Global Soil Partnership (GSP) was founded in 2012 with the goal of fostering strong interactive connections and collaboration among soil stakeholders. The collaboration oversees a number oflobal initiatives aimed at improving soil governance and promoting sustainable soil management.

Better Cotton Initiative’s, Standards and Learning Manager, Gregory Jean, said BCI is pleased to be working with the Global Soil Partnership on a successful project. BCI will receive considerable assistance to collaborate with national governments, agricultural partners, and farming communities to enhance the capacity of cotton producers on sustainable soil management techniques through the execution of two pilot projects.

The Soil Doctors initiative encourages the creation of a farmer-to-farmer training system with the goal of increasing farmers’ capacity to undertake sustainable soil management. It hopes to accomplish the following by doing so i.e. support governmental and non-governmental organizations that provide agricultural extension services on the field level; support field research based on exchanges between representatives from the Soil Doctors and universities and research institutes, including access to demonstration and experimental fields; and promote the idea of soil testing before making soil management suggestions.

In April, BCI launched a Soil Doctors pilot program in Mali, with intentions to expand the program to Mozambique later this year. Expert training from the Global Soil Partnership network will be provided to BCI’s Implementing Partners in Mali (The Compagnie Malienne pour le Développement des Textiles) and Mozambique (TBC), as well as access to demonstration plots, educational material, experimental fields, and soil testing kits.

RECSOIL is a “Payment for Ecosystem Services” (PES) program that provides financial incentives and credits to eligible projects based on the amount of carbon sequestered in the soil and the decrease in GHG emissions. This strategy promotes more environmentally friendly farming techniques while simultaneously providing farmers with a new source of income.

Farmers are the foundation of RECSOIL because they are the ones who can make a difference by implementing appropriate soil management techniques. For adopting and implementing these practices, they will receive technical assistance as well as cash incentives. Due to the Covid-19 issue, BCI is now working with Global Soil Partnership to create a modest pilot project in India. Testing will continue in the following months.

The Soil Doctors and RECSOIL programs are both meant to help farmers make quick and prudent soil management decisions. Later this year, further information about the pilots will be released.

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