The Better Cotton initiative, which aims to further promote the social and environmental advantages of sustainable agriculture practices, has announced the launch of a new program in Uzbekistan.
The International Labour Organization commended Uzbekistan last year for eliminating long-standing systemic child and forced labor issues from its cotton business. Uzbekistan is the sixth largest cotton producer in the world (ILO).
Better Cotton, building on this achievement, thinks that business incentives can ensure that the recently privatized cotton sector continues to modernize and adhere to worldwide standards. By connecting cotton farmers to global markets and assisting them in continuously enhancing their techniques, the Better Cotton Programme in Uzbekistan has the ability to offer that motivation.
Better Cotton said in a statement that they would offer reliable and trustworthy decent work monitoring systems through the implementation of the Better Cotton Standard System, which can show the impact and results achieved on the ground. Additionally, physical traceability will be implemented, allowing cotton from authorized farms to be completely segregated and tracked along the supply chain. The mass balance chain of custody will not currently be used to sell any licensed Better Cotton from Uzbekistan.
Better Cotton CEO Alan McClay, said that Better Cotton was created to work in environments where there are both social and environmental issues. The cotton industry in Uzbekistan has advanced significantly, as have the government and the farms themselves. They look forward to building on this multi-stakeholder involvement and fostering more positive transformation in the industry.
In 2017, the International Finance Corporation and GIZ started a pilot project in Uzbekistan to implement the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria. Twelve large farms already benefited from extensive training as a result of the pilots, and six of those farms have continued to participate. These six farms will continue to take part in the initiative throughout the cotton season of 2022–2023. Through the use of certified and qualified third-party verifiers, all the farms were evaluated in accordance with the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria.
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