The Better Cotton Initiative Launches in Egypt

Announcements Thursday, June 11th, 2020

Approximately 2,000 Smallholder Cotton Farmers Will Receive Training and Support on How to Grow Egyptian Cotton More Sustainably While Also Improving Their Livelihoods

After many years’ engagement and preparation, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), together with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), is delighted to announce the launch of a BCI Programme in Egypt. The participating farmers will receive training on the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria. By adhering to these principles, farmers produce cotton in a way that is measurably better for the environment and farming communities.

There is a high level of multi-stakeholder engagement in Egypt from government agencies, civil society organisations, trade associations, farmer associations and commercial actors within the supply chain, which will allow the BCI Programme to be implemented in a robust way.

“BCI supports all initiatives that seek to make cotton production more sustainable. Egyptian cotton, known for its superior fibre quality, 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.” — Alia Malik, Director of Implementation at BCI.

Following a successful pilot project in 2019, and completion of the necessary new country start-up process, Egypt officially became a new BCI Programme country in May 2020 as part of a renewed drive in the country to increase sustainability and improve conditions for Egyptian cotton farmers. The Programme is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation as part of the Egyptian Cotton Project.

Together with the Cotton Research Institute and Implementing Partners (organisations responsible for supporting and training farmers to continuously improve their sustainable agricultural practices according to the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria) ALKAN and Modern Nile Cotton, UNIDO will ensure that farmers receive the knowledge and tools to improve their agricultural practices.

From the 2020-21 cotton season onwards, farmers in Egypt who participate in the BCI Programme may be eligible* to receive a licence to sell their cotton as ‘Better Cotton’.

*In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, we acknowledge that travel or movement restrictions might interfere with assurance activities this season, and this could potentially affect the licensing process, preventing farmers from receiving a licence and Better Cotton from entering the global supply chain in 2020. We will know if assurance activities in Egypt will proceed as planned by the beginning of Autumn, 2020. Learn more about BCI’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.