Assurance Programme

The Better Cotton Assurance Programme is a key component of the Better Cotton Standard System. It involves farmers participating in a continuous cycle of learning and improvement, and is the central mechanism for assessing whether farmers can grow and sell Better Cotton.

Farms are differentiated by three categories (smallholders, medium farms and large farms) recognising the differences in production methods and workforces they use. To be licensed to grow Better Cotton, farmers must first reach a set of Minimum Requirements. These ensure that Better Cotton meets clearly defined standards for pesticide use, water management, decent work, record keeping, training and other factors.

Minimum Requirements are just the first stage. At the same time, farmers are encouraged to develop further through Improvement Indicators. Improvements are measured through a concise questionnaire telling the on-going story of how things are changing for the better. Farmers receive a score based on their answers and and high scoring farmers are rewarded through extended Better Cotton licence periods. The better the score, the longer the licence.

The credibility of the Better Cotton Assurance Programme is based on a series of complementary mechanisms: self-assessment at Producer Unit level (a collection of smallholders or medium farms) or individual level for Large Farms; 2nd Party Credibility Checks (by BCI and/or Partners); and 3rd Party Verification (by independent verifiers). Risk-based assessments also give specific attention to the highest and lowest performers. The BCI Secretariat is the Assurance Provider for all farmer categories.

Links to learn more:
Better Cotton Assurance Programme
List of Appendices
Oversight Mechanism

Farmer Field Book
Approval Procedures for Verifiers
External Assessment Guidance
BCI Approved Verifier List

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Please use the dropdown menus below to view guidance materials for smallholders, medium farms and large farms.

‘Focal point’ contact for any enquiries: please email