Farmers in India, Pakistan and West Africa are planting the first crop of cotton to be grown under the Better Cotton Initiative’s (BCI) certification scheme. Several UK retailers support the initiative, which aims to improve farming and labour practices.
Cotton is one of the world’s most widely grown crops. It occupies some 35 million hectares of farmland and uses vast amounts of fertiliser, pesticide and water (ENDS Report 383, pp 24-25). Much is produced on small farms in developing countries, but farmers often have little or no training and crop failure rates can be high.