The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has launched a multi-stakeholder pilot project in Egypt, to train cotton farmers on the Better Cotton Initiative’s holistic approach to sustainable cotton production. The pilot comes as part of a renewed drive in the country to increase sustainability and improve conditions for Egyptian cotton producers.
Funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, the project is implemented by UNIDO in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation as well as with local and international textile private sector stakeholders. The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), in coordination with selected Implementing Partners, will support UNIDO on the activation of the pilot in select areas in Egypt during the 2018-19 cotton season. BCI will provide guidance, share knowledge, develop materials and provide relevant agricultural and cotton experts.
Approximately 5,000 smallholder cotton farmers will be involved in the initial pilot project, receiving training on the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria. By adhering to these principles, existing (licensed) BCI Farmers around the world produce cotton in a way that is measurably better for the environment and farming communities.
“BCI supports all initiatives that seek to make cotton production more sustainable. Egyptian cotton is long staple cotton grown by smallholder farmers. Making the Better Cotton Standard System accessible to smallholder farmers is BCI’s priority – 99% of the farmers BCI works with today are smallholders,” says Alia Malik, Director of Implementation at BCI.
Once the pilot is complete, and in coordination with relevant Egyptian governmental entities and private sector stakeholders, UNIDO and BCI will explore the possibility of supporting the start-up of a direct BCI Programme in Egypt.