Better Cotton GIF Reaches One Million Cotton Farmers in 2017-18

The Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund (GIF) reached one million cotton farmers in 2017-18*, the second year of programme implementation. During the year, the Fund invested over €9.4 million in field-level programmes and innovations to foster adoption of sustainable cotton farming in seven major cotton-producing countries: India, Pakistan, China, Mozambique, Turkey, Tajikistan and Senegal.

Designed to support the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) in its goal of reaching five million farmers and have Better Cotton account for 30% of global cotton production by 2020, the Better Cotton GIF is well under way to meet the target.

The Better Cotton GIF Annual Report 2017-18 highlights accomplishments of the Fund across the seven cotton-producing countries in the year, along with field-level success stories.

Download the Better Cotton GIF Annual Report on Better Cotton GIF website.

Joost Oorthuizen, CEO, IDH said, “The Better Cotton GIF provides a mechanism for retailers and brands to make investment decisions and have impact on a scale they would not be able to reach on their own. Reaching one million farmers is a remarkable milestone, which would not have been possible without the commitment of the BCI Retailer and Brand Members, Implementing Partners and public donors”.

Alan McClay, CEO, BCI said, “Collaboration and partnerships have been integral to BCI from the outset and we have a strong strategic partner in IDH. We thank all contributing funders for supporting our work, and we are eager to invite new public and private investors to join us on this journey to improving the environment and the lives of millions of cotton farmers around the world.”

The Better Cotton GIF is a global project portfolio managed in partnership with businesses, civil society partners, and governmental bodies. The Fund supports training and capacity building of cotton farmers to ensure that cotton production is better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the cotton sector’s future.

The Fund is governed by the BCI Council, in partnership with BCI Retailer and Brand Members, Civil Society Members, and government bodies. IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative is the strategic partner for the Fund, under which it has taken up the role of fund manager, innovation partner in addition to being an important funder.

Total portfolio of €9.4 million
In its second year (2017-18), the Better Cotton GIF directly invested €6.4 million (from BCI Retailer and Brand Members, public donors and IDH) in field-level programmes and mobilised an additional €3 million in co-funding from BCI Implementing Partners and supply chain partners (social enterprises, ginners, spinning mills and garment manufacturers) – creating a total portfolio value of €9.4 million.

Strong commitment of brands and retailers
The success of the Better Cotton GIF depends on the commitment of BCI Retailer and Brand Members, who contribute through a fee based on the volume of cotton they source as Better Cotton. This volume-based fee, which enables brands to directly and efficiently support field-level programmes, has increased substantially over the years. The fee contributed €1.3 million to the Better Cotton GIF in 2016; €3.5 million in 2017 and is projected to contribute €7.5 million in 2018.

Capturing field-level success stories
The Better Cotton GIF strategy focuses on supporting farmers in adopting sustainable cotton farming and creating value for them as they do it. Yuzhen Liu, a BCI Farmer from China said, “I have benefitted immensely from BCI trainings. I have been able to reduce the amount of fertilisers and pesticides that I use on my farms. This has helped me to reduce my input costs and increase my profits. Implementing more sustainable practices on my farm has improved my economic stability, which is helping me in leading a better life.”

The Better Cotton GIF has experienced significant growth in the past two years, reaching more cotton farmers and promoting sustainability in the cotton supply chain.


*While the investments mobilised through the Better Cotton Growth and Innovation Fund reached over one million farmers in the 2017-2018 cotton season, the Better Cotton Initiative is forecast to reach and train a total of 1.7 million cotton farmers in the season. The final figures will be released in BCI’s 2018 Annual Report.