The Better Cotton lnitiative launches in Egypt
The Better Cotton lnitiative (BCl), together with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), has launched its first programme in Egpyt, paving the way for some 2,000 smallholder cotton farmers to receive training and support onhow to grow Egyptian Cotton more sustainably.
The Better Cotton Standard System is a holistic approach to sustainable cotton production, which covers all three pilars of sustainability: sociaenvironmental and economic, and addresses the many challenges of cotton production.
BCl says there is a high level of multi-stakeholder engagement in Egypt from govemment agencies, civil society organisations, tradeassociatons. farmer associatons. and commercial actors within the supoly chain. which wil alow its prooramme to be implemented in a robust way.
Participating farmers wil receive training on the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria. By adhering to these principles. farmers produce coton ina way that is measurably better for the environment and farming communities.
BCl supports allinitiatives that seek to make coton production more sustainable. Egyptian cotton, known for its superior fibre quality, is longstaple cotton grown by smallholder farmers. Making the Beter Cotton Standard System accessible to smalholder farmers is BC's priority -99% of the farmers BCl works with today are smalholders," says Alia Malik, director of implementation at BCl
Following a successful pilot proect in 2019, and completion of the necessary new country star-up process, Egypt oficialy became a new Bclprogramme country in May 2020 as part of a renewed drive in the country to increase sustainabilty and improve conditions for Egyptian cotonfarmers. The programme is funded by the ltalian Agency for Development Cooperation as part of the Egyptian Cotton Project
Tocether with the Coton Research nsttute and implementing partners --orcanisations responsibe for supporting and training farmers tocontinuousiy improve their sustainable aricultural practices accordina to the Better Coton Princiles and Criteria -AL KAN and Modern NileCotton, 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 BCl programme may be eligible to receive a licence to seltheir cotton as 'Better Cotton'.
BCl is among five associations representing the coton and textile industry that joined hands last month on a call for fair and equitable tradepractices across global supply chains amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
In April, the organisation estabished an expert task force to review selected elements of its Belter Cotton Standard System in relation to forcedlabour and decent work.