Countries / Territories


  • ITC sector - Cotton

    The cotton sector provides income for millions of people in Africa alone, especially those living in rural areas, and is an important source of foreign exchange earnings. ITC’s efforts in this sector are specifically aimed at making Africa a stronger player in the international cotton trade. A key part of this is boosting competitiveness and establishing stronger links with cotton importers, especially in Asia.

    Information | Advisory services | Training | Projects


    Textiles and clothing production have allowed some African countries to diversify their exports and increase employment opportunities, including for low and semi-skilled workers, particularly women. Nonetheless, global trends mean African countries now need to think regionally when it comes to strategies for the cotton to clothing sector.

    While individual countries have difficulty establishing an entire value chain from cotton to textiles and clothing, this can be achieved at the regional level. Moreover, regional economies of scale and expertise can improve the sector’s performance and allow African countries to tap into international markets for clothing and fashion. For more information relating to ITC’s role in Africa please click here.

    An important part of ITC’s work in the Cotton Sector is to facilitate South-South cooperation along the entire cotton to clothing value chain. In addition, we focus on promoting African cotton in emerging cotton consuming countries in Asia.

    The Cotton Exporter’s Guide is a reference book that is primarily targeted at cotton producers, ginners, exporters and traders in cotton producing developing countries, mainly, but not exclusively, in Africa. The guide provides a comprehensive view of all aspects of the cotton value chain from a market perspective, it will also help government officials to gain a deeper understanding of the crucial aspects that need to be addressed in cotton export development.

    Resources from West and Central Africa

    ITC works closely with regional organisations and cotton companies in West, Central, East and Southern Africa to develop information and marketing material on African cotton. The following materials provide a detailed overview of the West and Central African cotton sector:


    Technical Papers

    Advisory services

    ITC supports cotton-producing countries in developing comprehensive sector strategies along the cotton to clothing value chain. In addition, ITC accompanies sector stakeholders in implementing the strategies.

    ITC advisory services place emphasis on value-addition, fibre transformation and reduction of contamination to capture possible price premiums.

    To find out more, please contact us.


    Brochure - African cotton promotionITC’s training programmes allow successful cotton producers in countries such as China, Thailand, Turkey, India and Viet Nam to share their knowledge with cotton professionals from Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. This includes the transfer of cotton growing and processing technologies, such as good agricultural practices and development of high yielding and resistant cottonseed varieties.

    For more information about our work on marketing missions and capacity-building seminars, have a look at our previous training events. Moreover, training focuses on the value addition of fibre, the utilization of by-products as well as marketing and promotion of cotton lint.


    ITC’s efforts are aimed at making Africa a stronger player in the international cotton trade. This depends on boosting competiveness and establishing stronger links with cotton importers, especially in Asia. To compete better, all stakeholders – from farmers and ginners to commission agents and government officials – need a better understanding of destination markets and consumers, as well as the value chain itself.

    ITC’s ongoing projects in the cotton sector fall under the All ACP Agricultural Commodity Programme and focus on the following areas:

    • Building capacities in cotton trading and marketing.
    • Learning from success. Training programmes organized by ITC allow successful cotton producers in countries such as China, Turkey and India to share their knowledge with cotton professionals from Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa.
    • Developing capacity to transform cotton. Through ITC training, successful textile and clothing producers are relaying their experiences to African countries.
    • Promoting African cotton. ITC also links up African producers with potential customers through promotional activities in Asia.
    • Sourcing from other developing countries. Encouraging African producers to search out suppliers in the developing world promotes savings on items ranging from seeds and fertilizer to textile technology.
    • Encouraging intra-African cooperation.

    For more information on past projects, please click here.

    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.

    Implementation of the study and related dissemination workshops was due to take place in 2019-20, informing subsequent phases of work.




    Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF)


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


    2019-2020 [first phase]




    Ms. Marième Fall



    Mr. Fabrizio Meliado
    Economic Affairs Officer



    Mr. Kris Terauds
    Economic Affairs Officer



    Ms. Danièle Boglio
    Staff Assistant



    Mr. Matthias Knappe
    Programme Manager, Fibres, Textiles and Clothing



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