Developing the cotton value chain in Africa

8 December 2011
ITC News

ITC’s Cotton Development Initiative uses South-South cooperation to make Africa a stronger competitor in the international cotton trade. It has two major focus areas: facilitating learning and collaboration with countries that have successfully built a cotton sector and a textile and clothing sector, and building sustainable trade linkages (i.e. exports and imports).

Facilitating learning and collaboration

• Learning from success – Training programmes organized by ITC allow successful cotton producers in China, India, Turkey and elsewhere to share their knowledge with cotton professionals from Africa.

• Developing capacity to transform cotton – Successful textile and clothing producers in Asia are relaying their experiences to African countries. Closer linkages with cotton-consuming spinning mills will lead to closer partnerships between spinners, ginners and farmer groups. These partnerships will, in turn, lead to major improvements along the value chain, raising the quality of cotton and ensuring long-term market stability.

• Encouraging intra-African cooperation – Extensive knowledge and know-how is available in Africa, but is often neglected.

Developing sustainable trade linkages

• Sourcing from other developing countries – Finding new suppliers in the developing world promotes savings on items ranging from seeds and fertilizer to ginning and textile technology.

• Promoting African cotton – ITC assists African cotton companies, independent ginners and producers to benefit from closer linkages with cotton-consuming countries in Asia, not only to learn what their clients expect from them but also to promote their cotton.

• Reducing cotton contamination – In Africa reducing cotton contamination remains an important issue even though in many cases the reputation of African cotton is more contaminated than the cotton itself. To overcome this, ITC identifies spinning mills that are willing to assist selected ginning factories to produce clean lint.

Other technical assistance under ITC’s Cotton Development Initiative

• Sector strategy development

• Capacity building of cotton-related associations to understand and build partnerships along international cotton value chains

• Capacity building in cotton trade and marketing.