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Better Cotton in Egypt

Egyptian Cotton is known for its great fibre quality. Increasingly, both local and international textile suppliers and retailers are looking for good quality and sustainability.

The recent launch of the Better Cotton programme in Egypt can bring real value in helping Egypt’s cotton sector to meet this demand for more sustainable cotton. Combined with a high level of interest and support from government agencies, farmers, cotton businesses and trade associations, the programme stands to be implemented in a robust way that benefits everyone.

Egypt officially became a new Better Cotton programme country in May 2020 as part of the country’s renewed effort to grow more sustainable cotton and improve conditions for Egyptian cotton farmers. This followed the successful completion of a pilot project in 2019.

From the 2020-21 cotton season onwards, farmers in Egypt who participate in the Better Cotton programme will be eligible to receive a licence to grow and sell Better Cotton. Some 2,000 smallholder cotton farmers in the Kafr El Sheikh and Damietta Governorates will participate in the Better Cotton programme, receiving training on the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria. By respecting these principles, they’ll be learning to grow cotton in a way that’s measurably better for the environment and farming communities.

Better Cotton Partners in Egypt

Together with the Cotton Research Institute and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), our two Programme Partners will help to ensure that farmers gain access to the knowledge and tools they need to adopt more sustainable practices and improve their livelihoods.

  • Modern Nile Cotton

Sustainability challenges

Maintaining fibre quality is a challenge in Egypt, where all cotton is picked by hand and fibre quality management is key in ensuring stable revenue for growers. Training farmers on-site to understand the best ways to keep cotton clean and uncontaminated during harvesting is important in preserving the quality of Egyptian cotton. Providing a greater understanding of the causes and negative impact of contamination on fibre quality, our work in Egypt supports the adoption of good harvesting practices, enabling farmers to sell more of their crops and improve their livelihoods.

Health and safety is also a major challenge central to our work in improving conditions for Egyptian cotton farmers. When applying pesticides to crops without the appropriate knowledge of using personal protective equipment (PPE), cotton farmers can expose themselves to unnecessary risks. With our Programme Partners, we provide practical field training on appropriate use and increase awareness on the importance of PPE during the application of pesticides to support farmers in controlling these risks.

Photo Credit: Magued Makram/UNIDO Egypt Location: Kafr ElSheikh, Egypt, 2019. Description: Farmers celebrate their hard work during the cotton harvest.

I have been working as a cotton picker for the past 30 years. With the recent collaborations and developments, I hope the cotton industry in Egypt thrives as well as my income.

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.