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Better Cotton in Pakistan

Pakistan is the sixth-largest producer of cotton in the world. It also has the third-largest cotton spinning capacity in Asia (after China and India), with thousands of ginning and spinning units producing textile products from cotton.

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Licensed Farmers
Tonnes of Better Cotton
Hectares Harvested

As of the 2021-22 season, Pakistan is the third-largest producer of Better Cotton globally. We launched a Better Cotton programme in Pakistan in 2009 to help the country’s rapidly developing cotton industry grow cotton more sustainably and improve the livelihoods of the approximately 1.5 million smallholder farmers who rely on cotton for a living. As the country moves away from sugar production in anticipation of water-scarce conditions caused by climate change, more farmers are growing cotton since it is naturally more drought resistant. Together with our partners, we are supporting more of these farmers to become Better Cotton Farmers.

Better Cotton Partners in Pakistan

Better Cotton’s Programme Partners in Pakistan are:

  • The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International Pakistan
  • The Central Cotton Research Institute
  • Rural Business Development Center (RBDC)
  • The Rural Education and Economic Development Society Pakistan
  • Sangtani Women Rural Development Organization
  • WWF Pakistan

Pakistan is a Better Cotton Standard Country

Countries where the Better Cotton Standard System is directly implemented by BCI’s on-the-ground Implementing Partners.
Countries that have their own robust sustainable cotton standards in place, which have been benchmarked against the Better Cotton Standard and identified as equivalent.

Sustainability challenges

Cotton farmers in Pakistan are feeling the effects of climate change as unpredictable weather patterns and extreme heat are shortening growing seasons.

This is also leading to increased pests, especially the whitefly and pink bollworm, which can result in farmers becoming more reliant on pesticides.

High input costs and low market prices for cotton leave many of Pakistan’s smallholder cotton farmers struggling to earn enough to support themselves and their families.

Despite this, in some regions, cotton is the only option for farmers, which means increased productivity is key to creating better livelihoods.

Our Programme Partners in Pakistan help Better Cotton Farmers address these challenges by keeping them informed of upcoming weather conditions and training them on good pesticide, fertiliser and water use practices.

They are also promoting women’s empowerment through training and projects. Learn more in the stories below.

Find out more about the outcomes farmers are experiencing by participating in the Better Cotton programme in our latest Farmer Results Report.

Eliminating Child Labour: How Better Cotton Decent Work Training Influenced a Farmer in Pakistan to Send His Son Back to School

Jam Muhammad Saleem is one such farmer. When his eldest son, Muhammad Umar, turned 12, Saleem — considering Umar now old enough to work — saw no choice but for him to leave school to work alongside him and his wife to tend their farm near the village of Jhangar Marha. But just a year later, his outlook changed completely. Now, he is convinced that education will give all five of his children the best start in life. The reason? Better Cotton training.

If you have success growing your saplings, you will be able to sell the trees back to WWF-Pakistan at the market price, while keeping some to plant on your own land. It will be a great opportunity to manage your own nursery, secure a stable income, and provide additional financial support for your family.

Better Cotton Programme Partners bring women together so that female Better Cotton Farmers can share their experiences. Through these events, they promote the message that women should be able to fulfil their dreams, and explain that as a Better Cotton Farmer, they can access the tools, knowledge and opportunities they need to succeed.

Every year I saw declining results. I felt quite hopeless. It was an alarming situation and I couldn’t see a way forward.

Projects and innovations [hidden]


The Better Cotton Initiative leads several projects to support cotton farmers and advance sustainable cotton farming practices across Pakistan. These projects include:

  • WAPRO Phase II: A global water initiative focused on increasing water productivity in cotton and rice production
  • ATLA: A project exploring how a Better Cotton landscape approach can help tackle shared sustainability challenges in a community
  • Decent Work Taskforce Pilot [MOU5] [EU: need more info]
  • BCI Traceability Pilot [MOU6] [EU: need more info]
  • Laudes Foundation grants for farmer support against COVID-19 [MOU7] [EU: need more info]

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.


  • [MOU2] Is this the correct name? Sounds like there should be more to it? I couldn’t find it when Googling.
  • [JW4] we may have to remove this.
  • [MOU5] This one?
  • [MOU6] Link?
  • [MOU7] Link or more info on this?
  • [MOU8] We didn’t include these on the US or Turkey pages. Do we want to add them in?