Approximately 200,000 cotton farmers in Pakistan will receive vital environmental training to improve production practices this year, thanks to a new partnership between the Australian Government, Cotton Australia and the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a global organisation working towards making Better Cotton a sustainable mainstream commodity.
A new aid initiative, the Australian Government’s Business Partnerships Platform, has granted $500,000 to BCI with these funds matched by global brands and then invested in training for Pakistan’s cotton farmers.
Once trained and a licence issued, these farmers can sell their fibre as Better Cotton into the world market, with demand for BCI cotton growing every year thanks to the commitments of its brand members.
Australia’s cotton growers apply world-leading best practices, skills and experience to their farms in Australia, and Cotton Australia will share this information with fellow cotton producers in Pakistan in a bid to improve the overall standards of global cotton production and increase the world’s sustainable cotton supply.
The training will be conducted by BCI’s Pakistan partners in the regions of Punjab and Sindh in the 2017 cotton season.
BCI accelerates the adoption of better crop production practices to achieve measurable positive change around issues like pesticides, water and child labour, while improving the social and economic benefits for cotton farmers.
This is the first time a government outside Europe has contributed to BCI, and is a great example of a global partnership to help meet a complex challenge, with benefits for all involved.
Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay says the organisation is proud to have brokered this partnership for BCI.
“We feel grateful to the Australian Government for their support and leadership. We see Pakistan’s cotton farmers not as competitors, but as part of a global cotton industry that we all belong to.”
We must work together to meet the global sustainability challenges for cotton, and we can help by sharing our knowledge and expertise through BCI with our fellow farmers,” Mr Kay says.
Better Cotton Initiative CEO Alan McClay says BCI is thankful for Cotton Australia’s commitment and support in securing this grant from the Australian Government.
“BCI works to catalyse positive change throughout the cotton sector and to promote healthy production for future generations. A shared value approach by public and private partners, bringing together business, civil society and governmental bodies, is what underpins successful, durable and positive change in the sector,” Mr McClay says.
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Photo by Asim Hafeez, WWF UK