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Commercial Standardization of Instrument Testing of Cotton for the Cotton Producing Developing Countries in Africa (CFC/ICAC/33)


The main objective of the project was to support the development of a globally accepted system of quality assessment of cotton which is based on instrument testing, including the setting of testing rules, certification criteria, instrument calibration standards, etc. A second focus of the project was to develop a programme of initial support for the establishment of two regional centres in Africa that will be capable of providing all required services to national quality control institutions (in particular in the field of laboratory certification, instrument calibration, equipment and facility maintenance, etc) to enable African cotton producing countries to fully participate in the global system of cotton trade on the basis of instrument-tested quality parameters. The project was a component of the EU’s All ACP Agricultural Commodities Programme (AAACP), which provided substantive co-financing. The project was operationally completed in March 2012 after slightly more than four years of implementation. A successful dissemination workshop has been held in Arusha (Tanzania) in January 2012 where project results from the regional activities as well as from the global activities have been presented.

The detailed final report (including technical Annexes) has been published on the project’s web site (www.csitc.org). A downloadable version of the final report (without Annexes) is also available through the above link. An extensive summary article on the project has been included in the September 2012 issue of the ICAC Recorder (Vol. XXX, No.3), available in three languages, English, French and Spanish.

The project contributed to the further development of instrument-based cotton testing in the world and enabled the establishment of two African Testing Centres, capable of providing all required technical services and training activities. The centres, hosted by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards in Tanzania and the CERFITEX in Mali (operating jointly with SOFITEX of Burkina Faso) are state-of-the-art technological development centres with the capacity to assist cotton companies in their respective sub-regions to further effectively support the high quality of African cotton and to secure premium prices for their farmers when selling the cotton on the national and international markets.

Effective utilization of the established capacities and capabilities within the Regional Technical Centres, which are available for the cotton producing countries in the service regions, should enable cotton exporting countries to access market premiums of around $50/ton of lint.