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Friday, February 23, 2024

Chad on Better Cotton Initiative Radar for sustainable cotton production

The Better Cotton initiative that has revolutionized sustainable cotton practices in Asia is engaging with stakeholders in Chad to discuss the launch of a new programme in the North African country.

The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a global non-profit organization that focuses on promoting sustainable practices in the cotton sector. It was established in 2005 with the aim of making global cotton production more environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and economically viable.

BCI operates a system of standards and criteria that farmers must meet to qualify for Better Cotton certification. These standards cover various aspects of cotton production, including environmental and social criteria. Farmers are trained in sustainable farming practices, and audits are conducted to ensure compliance with BCI standards.

Companies that use cotton in their products can join BCI as members and commit to sourcing a certain percentage of their cotton from BCI-licensed farmers. This helps create demand for sustainably produced cotton and encourages more farmers to adopt BCI practices.

Representatives from Better Cotton and its strategic partner, the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) are in discussions with Cotontchad, the country’s only aggregator and exporter of cotton, as well as participants from national ministries, cotton farmer representatives, private sector delegates and civil society organisations.

Cotontchad supports around 200,000 smallholder farmers across the country. Through financial aid and the allocation of resources, it has helped increase yields from 17,500 metric tons (MT) in 2019 to more than 145,000 MT in 2022.

News of the potential move into Chad comes shortly after the launch of a new Better Cotton programme in west Africa, which includes a commitment to support 200,000 smallholder cotton farmers across Côte d’Ivoire in its first five years.

Working with the Professional Association of Cotton Companies of Côte d’Ivoire (APROCOT-CI) as its strategic partner, the new field-level programme will offer training and resources to farming communities across the country.

BCI promotes the use of more environmentally friendly farming practices, with the goal to minimize the environmental impact of cotton production. The initiative also seeks to improve the livelihoods and working conditions of cotton farmers and workers. This includes promoting fair labor practices, ensuring access to education and healthcare, and empowering women in cotton-producing communities.

BCI operates a system of standards and criteria that farmers must meet to qualify for Better Cotton certification. These standards cover various aspects of cotton production, including environmental and social criteria. Farmers are trained in sustainable farming practices, and audits are conducted to ensure compliance with BCI standards.

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