ITC and Denmark Help South-South Cotton Trade

Article excerpt

ITC, with financial support from Denmark, is seeking to improve the competitiveness of African cotton exports, especially to Asia.

Trade ministers meeting in Hong Kong, China last year urged the development community and WTO members to "further scale up its cotton-specific assistance [and] promote and support South-South cooperation, including transfer of technology". An ITC-led project, financed by Denmark, aims to do just that.

Cotton is an important cash crop for African nations, particularly the least developed countries, among them Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali. They are heavily dependent on the export of raw cotton, which accounts for more than 50% of their export revenues. Thirty-three African countries are producers and net exporters of cotton.

The Danish grant of US$ 580,000 will enable ITC to help African cotton producers understand and participate in world cotton markets, especially in Asia. The project, which includes marketing issues, complements important initiatives of other donors in agricultural development, cotton production and quality improvements. By helping cotton producers to strengthen their export promotion, they will be able to reap the benefits of increasing production, productivity and quality.

ITC will produce a down-to-earth guidebook on how to find new business partners in world markets. The "Cotton Exporter's Guide" will be a reference for cotton exporters, especially smallholders and traders, on how to finalize orders and manage the overall export process.

A major part of the guide will focus on new cotton markets in Asia, especially in China. …

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