Better Cotton in Mali
Cotton production continues to grow rapidly in Mali and contributes significantly to the country’s economy despite often challenging trading conditions.
The crop has grown in popularity among farmers since 1995, when the Malian government began actively promoting it as a good cash crop. By 2003, Mali had become Africa’s largest cotton producer, and today, cotton is the country’s main crop and second-largest export, employing around 40% of the rural population.
Better Cotton Partner in Mali
Our Implementing Partner in Mali is the Compagnie Malienne pour le Developpement des Textiles (CMDT), a semi-public limited cotton company charged with the production and marketing of Mali’s cotton. CMDT is responsible for providing agricultural advice to cotton producers, marketing raw seed cotton harvested from the field with cottonseed and lint still attached, transporting and ginning this seed cotton to separate cotton lint from cottonseed and selling cotton fibre for export and to the Malian textile industries.
Mali is a Better Cotton Standard Country
Find out what this means?
Which regions grow Better Cotton in Mali?
Better Cotton is grown in North-East Mali and South Mali, with the first Better Cotton harvest taking place in 2011.
When is Better Cotton grown in Mali?
Cotton is sown from June to July and harvested from October to January.
Cotton farmers in Mali face climate challenges, with shorter growing seasons, poor soil health, high input costs and unstable cotton prices. Farmers rely on rain to grow their crops, so extreme weather in the form of late and erratic rainfall causes real problems. Many farmers have to re-sow their cotton seeds several times for their seedlings to become established.
Child labour still persists in Malian culture, so CMDT is working hard to help farmers understand that it’s important to identify, prevent and address the issue of children working in the fields. CMDT stepped up its efforts in the 2019-20 cotton season through increased training, including on how best to capture and record progress on this fundamental issue.
CMDT is also working hard to promote women’s empowerment. In the 2018-19 cotton season, 39% of the farmers and farm workers who received training in Mali were women. This might seem low, but in fact, many more women are now taking part thanks to on-the-ground experts focused on supporting rural women and helping them increase their economic independence.
Find out more about the outcomes farmers are experiencing by participating in the Better Cotton programme in our latest Farmer Results Report.
Get in touch
Contact our team via the contact form if you’d like to learn more, become a partner or you’re a farmer interested in farming Better Cotton.