Sustainable cotton pilot launched in Egypt

brett mathews | 11th March 2019

VIENNA – Better Cotton could be grown in Egypt for the first time after the launch of a new pilot in the North African country. The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has launched the multi-stakeholder project to train cotton farmers on the Better Cotton Initiative’s holistic approach to cotton production. The pilot is said to be part of a renewed drive in the country to increase sustainability and improve conditions for Egyptian cotton producers. Once the pilot is complete, and in coordination with relevant Egyptian governmental entities and private sector stakeholders, UNIDO and BCI will explore the possibility of supporting the start-up of a direct BCI programme in Egypt.

Funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, the project is implemented by UNIDO in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation as well as with local and international textile private sector stakeholders.

The BCI, in coordination with selected implementing partners, will support UNIDO on the activation of the pilot in select areas in Egypt during the 2018-19 cotton season. BCI will provide guidance, share knowledge, develop materials and provide relevant agricultural and cotton experts.

Approximately 5,000 smallholder cotton farmers will be involved in the initial pilot project, receiving training on the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria. “BCI supports all initiatives that seek to make cotton production more sustainable. Egyptian cotton is long staple cotton grown by smallholder farmers. Making the Better Cotton Standard System accessible to smallholder farmers is BCI’s priority – 99 per cent of the farmers BCI works with today are smallholders,” said Alia Malik, director of implementation at BCI.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), French/Spanish acronym ONUDI, is a specialized agency in the United Nations system, headquartered in Vienna, Austria. The Organisation’s primary objective is the promotion and acceleration of industrial development in developing countries and countries with economies in transition and the promotion of international industrial cooperation. It is also a member of the United Nations Development Group.