Kutch’s Wagad or Kala cotton: Back from the (almost) dead

Once upon a time, in the semi-arid plains of Kutch, grew plants that bore soft white tufts of indigenous, Wagad cotton. The cotton’s softness was in contrast to its hardy nature—it required little water, no pesticide, and overall, very little care—perfect for the present-day situation of drought and water scarcity.

However, with the introduction of the long-staple variety of American cotton, indigenous or ‘desi‘ cotton such as Wagad lost its popularity, until the point that it was almost lost. An initiative to revive this short-staple, indigenous variety of cotton—particularly when the charm of Bt-cotton is wearing off and water scarcity is becoming a stinging reality—is, however, slowly bearing fruit.