Unlocking the Hidden Value of Cotton: WTO-UNCTAD-ITC initiative on cotton by-products

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 the 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 2019-2021 and will inform subsequent phases of work.




Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF)


Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia.





Ms. Marième Fall, Counsellor
[email protected]

Mr. Fabrizio Meliado, Economic Affairs Officer
[email protected]


Mr. Kris Terauds, Economic Affairs Officer
[email protected]

Ms. Danièle Boglio, Staff Assistant
[email protected]


Mr. Matthias Knappe, Programme Manager
[email protected]

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