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Green Cotton

Project Title: On farm cotton cultivation testing and participatory breeding for organic and low input cropping systems in central India.

The project is a joint research project of bioRe Association India, Kasarwad, MP, Chetna organic, Hyderabad, University of agricultural sciences, Dharwad and Research institute of organic agriculture FiBL, Switzerland. Organic cotton production in India is facing a severe threat from Bt cotton hybrids which have now replaced many traditional cotton species and local varieties. Organic cotton farmers are finding it almost impossible to source suitable nonGM cultivars. Institutional breeding efforts have always focused more on developing cotton cultivars with high input production systems, irrigation facilities and chemicals. These species are not suitable for rainfed situations and organic farming conditions where emphasis is on low external inputs. 

Goals of the project

Short- term

To make high quality seeds accesible to organic cotton farmers.

 Mid term

To develop new cultivars that are more compatible to the  needs of organic farmers and processors. 

Long term 

-       To conserve local genetic resources,

-       Multiplication of traditional seeds,

-       To establish non-GM seed chain through farmer participatory breeding, combining the experience of farmers and knowledge of breeders.

-       Networking all the stake holders.


The project was initiated in 2013 cropping season and a cotton seed trial was planned in in the light red soil and medium black soils of Lanjigarh block in Kalahandi district of Odisha.

Entries included both varieties and hybrids of

            American cottons- Hirsutums

            Indian cottons- Arboreums  

            Egyptian- Barbadense

Quality parameters being tested

-       Long staple length,

-       Gtex and micronaire

-       High yield

-       Shorter crop duration. 


Redsoil trial

1. Location:  Chetna organic research and conservation centre, Bandhpari village

    Focus:     Hirsutums and Arboreums with their adaptability to shorter crop duration and high density planting condition.

Blacksoil trial

2. Location : Kumkhal village  

    Focus : Trial in medium black soil conditions

Varietal lines of Hirsutums, Arboreums, Barbadenses, hybrids of Hirsutums and crosses between Hirsutums, Barbadenses.

These varietal trials are scientifically laid out in Randomised Block Design (RBD) with two replications; Phenological parameters are recorded periodically by dedicated qualified and trained staff. During the crop season, entries are scored by a scientific team for technical parameters and by farmers groups for their acceptance and adaptability in their soil conditions.

Seed are ginned by a Lilliput gin, are labelled and stored in moisture free conditions at the research centre. Results at the end of every year would be statistically analysed and best performing entries would be advanced in the process for wider adaptation in farmers field trials.

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