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BCI, Cotton Australia to train Pakistani cotton farmers
Jan '17
The Australian Government, Cotton Australia and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) have together launched a partnership to support the training of approximately 225,000 cotton farmers in Pakistan, commencing with the 2017 season. The partnership has been established to support Pakistan’s ability to compete in premium international cotton markets.

Pakistani farmers will be trained in techniques for growing cotton with a focus on improved environmental, social and economic benefits, in line with the Better Cotton Standard System. The partnership will deliver practical tools and the latest environmental and cutting-edge management practices aligned with internationally recognised quality assurance for sustainable cotton production.

Pakistan is the fourth largest producer of cotton in the world and cotton is an important export earner for the country.

The Australian government has committed AUD500,000 to this project which will be supported through the Australian aid program’s Business Partnerships Platform. Australia’s contribution will be matched by AUD2.4 million from the BCI Growth and Innovation Fund. The BCI Growth and Innovation Fund’s matching funds come from BCI retailer and brand members, such as Adidas, Ikea, H&M, Levi Strauss & Co, Marks & Spencer, Cotton On, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Tommy Hilfiger and Nike, according to a statement released by the Australian High Commission.

“The partnership represents an important step forward for BCI in promoting cross-learning between cotton growing countries. This collaboration will deliver tangible value to cotton farmers in Pakistan as they gain access to the vast body of deep knowledge on good agricultural practices held by Cotton Australia, as well as being able to participate in BCI training programmes to promote more sustainable farming practices,” said Lena Staafgard, chief operating officer, BCI.

“The partnership will work closely with Cotton Australia and Australian cotton farmers who will share their world-leading practices, skills and experience with farmers in Pakistan. By promoting Australian cotton practices we will aim to help improve the global reputation of Pakistan cotton, safeguarding cotton’s future in Pakistan,” said Margaret Adamson, Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan.

“Australian cotton farmers are happy to share knowledge and experience to assist other cotton producers (in this case Pakistani) improve their sustainability, as this gives brands and retailers the confidence to use cotton in their products. More and more global brands and retailers only want to source cotton that has been responsibly produced,” said Adam Kay, CEO of Cotton Australia.

The partnership brings together the world’s largest cotton sustainability programme, BCI, with some of the world’s largest retail brands that have committed to significant targets for sustainable cotton use in their products. (KD)

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