The Cotton By-Products Project - Unlocking the Hidden Value

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:

  • New income streams for farmers and processors

  • Increased domestic value added

  • Access to new markets

  • Improved trade balance, through increased exports or import substitution

  • Reduced waste in the cotton value chain

By unlocking these benefits, cotton by-products can contribute to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals, for example:

Goal 1 (No Poverty),

Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth),

Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) 

Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production)

In 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.

The study and related dissemination workshops will be implemented in 2019-20 and will inform subsequent phases of work.

Cotton by-Products
  Processing Cotton Stalk - Uganda © Simon Hess
  Partners: WTO, UNCTAD and ITC
  Donor: Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF)
  Beneficiaries:    Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mozambique, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia
  Duration: 2019-2020 [first phase]
   WTO Ms. Marième Fall
Counsellor +41.22.739.5527
  Mr. Fabrizio Meliado
Economic Affairs Officer +41.22.739.6986
   UNCTAD Mr. Kris Terauds
Economic Affairs Officer +41.22.917.5931
  Ms. Danièle Boglio
Staff Assistant +41.22.917.6286
   ITC Mr. Matthias Knappe
Programme Manager +41.22.730.0321
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ITC logo
EIf logo


03 October 2019From fibre to fabric: Celebrating the value of cotton
01 October 2019Unlocking the hidden value of cotton by-products in African least developed countries



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