Pakistan is the fourth largest cotton producer in the world. More than 1.5 million farmers are engaged in cotton farming in the country. It has the third largest spinning capacity in Asia (after China and India).
With a strong government support to the sector and a high concentration of ginning and spinning mills, along with the vertical integration of its market structure, Pakistan has always been an important country for the Fund. About a quarter of all farmers in Pakistan grow cotton. The cotton sector (including textile) contributes highly to the GDP and accounts for 60% of the total export value.
However, pests and cottonseed quality, along with poor climatic conditions, are perpetual challenges faced by the sector. In addition, in many cotton-growing areas, women face serious challenges and have access to fewer opportunities. For instance, women tend to be underrepresented in learning groups, yet are extensively involved in field labor, including picking. Moreover, women workers tend to earn less than men for doing the same work. To address some of these challenges at the field-level, the Fund invested in 15 projects and worked with six Implementing Partners in the country in 2017-18.
In the next cotton year, the Better Cotton GIF aims to increase the BCI farmer base in the country by looking at improving the supply chain participation and continuing to address farmer livelihood through productivity and water management.