About 10-20 million farmers and farm workers in the country depend on cotton cultivation in China as a source of livelihood. However, the current landscape reflects that cotton farming is becoming increasingly more challenging for smallholder farmers in the country.
As the second largest producer, the largest consumer and the largest importer of cotton, China is one of the most important sourcing hubs for many BCI Retailer and Brand Members.
Due to changes in political priorities and incentives for shifting year-on-year, smallholder farmers are less dependent on crop farming as a single income-generating activity. As a result, they are looking at diversifying crop production depending on the price dynamics.
Additionally, a rapidly aging population is leading to a supply shortage of qualified workers, making it more difficult for businesses to fill in-demand roles. This has created challenges at the field-level for cotton farmers as well as farm workers.
To address some of these challenges, the Fund worked with five Implementing Partners on five projects in the country in 2017-18 to support the training of cotton farmers on the Better Cotton Principles and Criteria. The Fund also strengthened its engagement with local governments, international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and local cooperatives through various partnership models, which enabled scaling of the program in the country.