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.
Zambian cotton entrepreneur goes beyond the fibre
UNCTAD supports efforts to add value to cotton by-products in eastern and southern Africa to make the crop more profitable for farmers.
From fibre to fabric: Celebrating the value of cotton
PartnersWTO, UNCTAD and ITC
DonorsEnhanced Integrated Framework (EIF)
Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia.
Ms. Marième Fall, Counsellor
Mr. Fabrizio Meliado, Economic Affairs Officer
Mr. Kris Terauds, Economic Affairs Officer
Ms. Danièle Boglio, Staff Assistant
Mr. Matthias Knappe, Programme Manager