Long Staple Cotton - File Photo/ Wikimedia Commons
CAIRO – 15 June 2020: The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) executed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in partnership with the Egyptian Cotton Research Institute, Modern Nile Cotton, and Almatex will go into effect in the 2020/2021 season.
The initiative is under the framework of The Egyptian Cotton Project aimed at improving its quality and marketing, and its pilot was launched in February 2019. The Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation declared Monday that the initiative will be introduced in Damietta and Kafr Al Sheikh governorates.
The BCI is designed "to support the Egyptian Cotton branding as part of a renewed drive to increase product sustainability, improve working conditions along the supply chain, and support cotton growers and relevant institutions," as indicated on UNIDO's website. The initiative consists of capacity-building efforts, and environment-friendly practices.
The Egyptian Cotton Project is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, and 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 project is part of the "Cottonforlife" CSR initiative by Filmar Group.
Chair of the Egyptian Cotton Research Institute Hisham Mosaad stated that the institute has a plan that focuses on improving cotton farms, and that last year the institute assisted farmers to adopt the best cultivation practices. Those include water efficiency, and limited use of fertilizers and pesticides.
The official underlined that the coordination with the teams of UNIDO and BCI is continuous.
CEO of Marco Mazzoli – Filmar stressed the necessity to collaborate with the private sector saying that the company will keep supporting the initiative by purchasing cotton from farmers participating in the program.
Mosaad explained that BCI is an international initiative based in Geneva and London, and that it has 21 participant states, including China, United States, Turkey, Pakistan, and Mozambique. He added that 2 million farmers are part of the initiative producing 5.1 million tons of cotton composing 19 percent of the world's production.
The initiative is sponsored by a number of international brands, and its importance to Egypt is rooted in paving a parallel way for Egyptian exports of cotton as those brands require the production of cotton in line with the values of the BCI.