UNIDO recently launched a project aiming at enhancing the sustainability, inclusiveness and value addition of the long-staple and extra-long staple Egyptian cotton value chain, by improving the economic, social and environmental performance of cotton growers and cotton processors, and strengthening support institutions.
UNIDO will support resource efficient cotton processing, foster B2B linkages in the textile value chain, improve quality of production at all stages from seeds to finishing, enhance the technical and entrepreneurial skills of labor among others
Egyptian cotton is one of the highest quality fibers, known worldwide as Egypt’s ‘white gold.’ Worth $2.6 billion, the textile industry employs one third of Egypt’s industrial workforce and represents 3% of GDP. Despite textile being a major industrial sector for Egypt, cotton production in the country has fallen significantly in recent years and the Egyptian textile sector currently plays a marginal role in the global textile value chain.
Challenges include fragmentation, increasing input prices, absence of innovation, limited skilled workforce and unsustainable agronomic practices. To meet international market needs and support the Government of Egypt’s aim in its Vision 2030, it is vital to revive Egypt’s highly acclaimed cotton industry to create new employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.
In November 2018, the project signed a partnership with Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) to support the sustainable cultivation of Egyptian cotton and related certification. In this regard, in partnership with the Cotton research institute (CRI), the project will have pilot cultivation in some districts of the Governorates of Kafr el-Sheikh and Damietta.
The Egyptian cotton is among the finest and most lustrous varieties and the highest quality fiber. Egypt’s textile industry has historically been considered of paramount importance to the country and its economy. Nonetheless, Egypt still plays a marginal role in the global textile value chain as its textile industry is highly fragmented and its textile products do not meet the needs of the international market. The industry suffers from lack of innovation, high input prices, limited skilled labor, and scarce sustainable agricultural practices.
Funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, UNIDO together with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and in partnership with the representatives of textile private sector, launched the Egyptian Cotton project in 2017 aiming to enhance the sustainability, inclusiveness and value addition of the Egyptian cotton value chain.
UNIDO has announced a Request for Quotation to deploy, manage and document two demonstration plots of around 2 feddan each in Kafr El-Sheikh and Damietta, respectively. Demonstration plots will have a strong focus on sustainability in terms of economic, social and environmental aspects, and will serve as a model to be demonstrated to farmers, workers, extension officers, public and private sector actors.