Cotton certification scheme targets farming practices

Around 50,000 farmers will be helped to grow cotton more sustainably this year through the Better Cotton Initiative. Marks & Spencer, Ikea and H&M are among those that will buy the scheme’s output

Cotton plant, from dreamstime.comFarmers 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.

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