The cotton sector provides income for millions of people in Africa alone, especially those living in rural areas, and is an important source of foreign exchange earnings. ITC’s efforts in this sector are specifically aimed at making Africa a stronger player in the international cotton trade. A key part of this is boosting competitiveness and establishing stronger links with cotton importers, especially in Asia.
Information | Advisory services | Training | Projects
Textiles and clothing production have allowed some African countries to diversify their exports and increase employment opportunities, including for low and semi-skilled workers, particularly women. Nonetheless, global trends mean African countries now need to think regionally when it comes to strategies for the cotton to clothing sector.
While individual countries have difficulty establishing an entire value chain from cotton to textiles and clothing, this can be achieved at the regional level. Moreover, regional economies of scale and expertise can improve the sector’s performance and allow African countries to tap into international markets for clothing and fashion. For more information relating to ITC’s role in Africa please click here.
An important part of ITC’s work in the Cotton Sector is to facilitate South-South cooperation along the entire cotton to clothing value chain. In addition, we focus on promoting African cotton in emerging cotton consuming countries in Asia.
The Cotton Exporter’s Guide is a reference book that is primarily targeted at cotton producers, ginners, exporters and traders in cotton producing developing countries, mainly, but not exclusively, in Africa. The guide provides a comprehensive view of all aspects of the cotton value chain from a market perspective, it will also help government officials to gain a deeper understanding of the crucial aspects that need to be addressed in cotton export development.
ITC works closely with regional organisations and cotton companies in West, Central, East and Southern Africa to develop information and marketing material on African cotton. The following materials provide a detailed overview of the West and Central African cotton sector:
ITC supports cotton-producing countries in developing comprehensive sector strategies along the cotton to clothing value chain. In addition, ITC accompanies sector stakeholders in implementing the strategies.
ITC advisory services place emphasis on value-addition, fibre transformation and reduction of contamination to capture possible price premiums.
To find out more, please contact us.
ITC’s training programmes allow successful cotton producers in countries such as China, Thailand, Turkey, India and Viet Nam to share their knowledge with cotton professionals from Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. This includes the transfer of cotton growing and processing technologies, such as good agricultural practices and development of high yielding and resistant cottonseed varieties.
For more information about our work on marketing missions and capacity-building seminars, have a look at our previous training events. Moreover, training focuses on the value addition of fibre, the utilization of by-products as well as marketing and promotion of cotton lint.
ITC’s efforts are aimed at making Africa a stronger player in the international cotton trade. This depends on boosting competiveness and establishing stronger links with cotton importers, especially in Asia. To compete better, all stakeholders – from farmers and ginners to commission agents and government officials – need a better understanding of destination markets and consumers, as well as the value chain itself.
ITC’s ongoing projects in the cotton sector fall under the All ACP Agricultural Commodity Programme and focus on the following areas:
For more information on past projects, please click here.
Cotton is grown mainly for its fibre, or lint – the raw material in cotton textiles.Nevertheless, commercial applications exist for other parts of the cotton plant, such as the stalks, husks, cottonseed and short-staple fibres.Cotton by-products therefore represent an opportunity for producing countries to unlock further benefits from cotton production, including:
By unlocking these benefits, cotton by-products can contribute to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals, for example:Goal 1 – no povertyGoal 8 – decent work and economic growthGoal 9 – industry, innovation, and infrastructureGoal 12 – responsible consumption and productionIn response, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) formed a joint initiative on cotton by-products.The initiative responds to requests by developing countries, notably the "Cotton-4" countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali) and other cotton-producing countries in Africa, for technical assistance to develop value chains and markets for cotton by-products.The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) funded a first phase of work, involving a feasibility study to identify priority cotton by-products for development in the beneficiary countries.Implementation of the study and related dissemination workshops was due to take place in 2019-20, informing subsequent phases of work.
WTO, UNCTAD and ITC
Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF)
Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mozambique, United
Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia
2019-2020 [first phase]
Ms. Marième Fall
Mr. Fabrizio Meliado
Economic Affairs Officer
Mr. Kris Terauds
Economic Affairs Officer
Ms. Danièle Boglio
Mr. Matthias Knappe
Programme Manager, Fibres, Textiles and Clothing