BCI signs MOU with Tajikistan to support sustainable cotton production

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2023-04-09 09:05:29 – Tajikistan

Better Cotton, the largest cotton certifier in the world, aims to improve connections with Tajikistan, a country in Central Asia. As a result, the cotton sustainability initiative and the Tajik ministry of agriculture have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to further their collaboration and promote the production of more sustainably sourced cotton throughout Tajikistan. The enhancement of cotton fiber quality, farmer welfare, and overall agricultural sustainability are the objectives.

Lack of water, particularly during the summer when temperatures often reach 30 degrees Celsius, poor working conditions, and gender inequity are also common problems. Better Cotton notes on its website that despite the fact that female farmers make up a sizable portion of the farming labor, they are often unable to own farms. "Many farmers in the country struggle to ensure contracts and safe working conditions for seasonal cotton pickers," the organization writes.

In order to do this, the MoU states that Better Cotton and the ministry would create a strategic roadmap that takes the Better Cotton Standard System into account as well as the needs of the international market for more sustainable cotton production in Tajikistan.

Both parties will work together to promote the advantages of more environmentally friendly farming methods across the nation while also investigating how local farmers may improve through the adoption of useful technology.

The ministry and Better Cotton will collaborate to find new finance and investment options for the nation's underdeveloped cotton industry, which is still largely unheard of in the world cotton market.

At the Tajikistan Investment and Development Forum in London last week, Rebecca Owen, director of fundraising for Better Cotton, and Qurbon Khakimzoda, minister of agriculture of Tajikistan, signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

This MoU is the beginning of a strategic roadmap to expand sustainable cotton production in Tajikistan -- creating opportunities to improve cotton farming communities' livelihoods, well-being, and market access.

With only 360 farmers, Tajikistan joined the Better Cotton Initiative in 2013 and is the first nation in Central Asia to do so. In order to strengthen and expand the program in Tajikistan, the cooperative of agronomists Sarob joined BCI as an implementing partner in 2014. Sarob developed and implemented more sustainable, water-efficient farming practices like precision irrigation and soil moisture testing, secured finance, and became the program's main partner.

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