HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation has been supporting the production and marketing of organic and fair cotton in partnership with the National Union of Cotton Producers of Burkina since 2004. Two successive project phases, financed by various donors including the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the European Union, the Brittany Region (France) and LED (Liechtenstein Development Service), have allowed the introduction of organic cotton in Burkina Faso. The emphasis lies on improving the production and internal control systems (certification and supervision) as well as on the marketing of organic and fair cotton fibre and other rotational crops such as sesame and shea almonds.
The current project phase focuses primarily on the consolidation of value chains of rotation crops, strengthening of business management and marketing capacities of producer organisations and the management of coexistence with genetically modified cotton. Since 2012, the French Development Agency supports the development of organic and fair cotton production in the West African region including Burkina Faso under the coordination of the Association of African Cotton Producers. HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation provides technical support and management advice to the association and the producer organisations.
Alongside, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation is implementing a complementary project in the area of local processing of organic cotton. The project strengthens the technical and managerial capacities of a local association embracing a number of artisanal textile businesses. The aim is to increase incomes for the artisans through sales of organic cotton products in local and international markets.