China is the second largest producer (after India) and the largest consumer and importer. About 24 million farmers and farm workers depend on cotton cultivation as a source of livelihood. In the global market, China’s influence is enhanced by their national cotton reserve policy.
China is an important cotton sourcing geography for the BCFTP brands, and in anticipation of the need for Chinese Better Cotton, the BCFTP set out to work with local supply chain partners to create domestic Better Cotton supply. In 2014, the Fast Track Fund invested 1.1 million Euro (15% of the fund value) in 10 projects. 112,000 MT lint of Better Cotton was produced, a significant increase from the last season, out of which 104,000 MT was taken up by ginners. The projects covered an area of 53,000 hectares and 5,200 farmers were licensed to produce Better Cotton (96% of the total farmers trained in the Better Cotton production principles). In 2014, BCI signed an agreement with the China Knitting Industry Association (CKIA) and in addition, the BCFT funded a pilot Better Cotton project with the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC). Furthermore, BCI has also been actively liaising with the Ministry of Agriculture in China and took part in a stakeholder consultation process to develop and release the China Better Cotton Standard, while building relationships with local governments in Shandong Binzhou and Hubei Songzi to become Implementing Partners in 2015.