Through a financial contribution and collaboration with the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), Solidaridad and Rabobank Foundation have made a start to expand the ProCotton Program in Tanzania and Zambia. The ProCotton programme aims to include smallholder cotton farmers in developing countries in sustainable textile supply chains.
New opportunities for smallholder cotton farmers
The new collaboration with CFC and ICAC enabled the start of new two-year projects in Zambia and Tanzania. The projects focus on providing assistance to a selected number of producer organizations and cotton companies willing to invest in sustainable cotton production. Standards and schemes used for improving cotton growing practices include (but are not limited to) Organic, Fairtrade and Better Cotton. When implementing the projects emphasis will be placed on gradually moving from grant-funded support towards loan-funded support, ultimately leading to activities being funded through locally available commercial credits. It is envisaged that the ProCotton Program can be further expanded to other countries in East Africa.
Improving cotton farmers income
Based on a participatory needs assessment at organization level, a set of different priority service areas is defined. These services include improved access to credits, agro-technical support, organizational development and linking farmer organizations to potential markets for their produce. Through provision of these services Solidaridad and partners intend to realize higher productivity of the cotton production and better marketing practices in order to improve incomes of the farmers.
The ProCotton Program is a joint initiative of Rabobank Foundation and Solidaridad to develop a support program for cotton producers. It is based on similar successful producer support initiatives like the Progresso coffee farmer support program. In 2009 the first ProCotton projects started in several countries in Africa. For more information about the ProCotton Program please contact the coordinator at the Solidaridad Netherlands office Stijn van Geel via info at procotton.nl.