Regional OCRT Launches In West Africa As Part Of New Partnership With Catholic Relief Services

Photos: Sam Phelps for CRS

Textile Exchange is delighted to announce a new collaboration with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) on a series of organic cotton focused activities in West Africa. These include a Market Opportunity Scoping Project (MOSP), a documentary-style video showcasing the region’s organic cotton sector, and the launch of a Regional Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT) in Koudougou, about 100 km from Ouagadougou, during SICOT (Salon International du Coton et du Textile), 27-29 September 2018.

The aim of the Salon is to expose and promote Burkina cotton as an industry for capital investment into cotton processing. It will be an opportunity to increase international trade by creating linkages between cotton companies, UNPCB (the National Cotton Producers Union of Burkina, our partner), and buyers from all over the world.

The Regional OCRT will be a one-day event during the Salon, focusing in on organic cotton and bringing together key stakeholders. The results of the MOSP will provide the basis for discussions on the day, with the aim being to find solutions to the region’s main barriers to growth.

We are very excited about our partnership with CRS, and look forward to working closely together on the delivery of these activities. Keep an eye out for more details, coming soon!

The first organic cotton gin in West Africa

Photo: CRS

We are also delighted to share with you some other very exciting news from Burkina Faso’s organic cotton industry. On February 15th, 2018, the ground-breaking ceremony took place for the first organic cotton gin in West Africa, located in Koudougou. The gin is a collaboration between the USDA-funded RECOLTE project, CRS, UNPCB, and SOFITEX. It is hoped that the gin will be up and running by early 2019.

The installation of the plant will enable UNPCB (National Union Of Cotton Growers Of Burkina) to resolve bottlenecks related to delayed ginning of organic cotton. This, in turn, will encourage growth in organic cotton production and international trade. Currently, organic cotton is ginned six months later than conventional cotton, which delays the entire production chain and payment to producers, and in turn discourages timely organic cotton production and participation.

Congratulations to all involved for turning the vision for this into reality!