Linking partners along the value chain

The cotton value chain from the producer to the final consumer involves various steps covering a wide range of different operators.
In addition to actors directly involved in the value chain, providers of technical and financial services may also be required. Technical support can include training and extension, research, business and marketing consultancy, and brokerage. Financial services may be required at farmer level (micro-credit to buy equipment), at the level of the farmer organisation (loans to invest in processing infrastructure), and for trade finance (capital to purchase the harvest). If the development of an organic cotton value chain is part of a project, NGOs and funding agencies will play a role as well. The illustration of the value chain gives an overview of the various stakeholders and of the flows of material, finance and technical advice.

Stakeholders and how they interact in an organic cotton value chain project
 
Most organic cotton projects deal only with the production of the cotton fibre (possibly including ginning and export), while the remaining processes (spinning, knitting/weaving, dying, manufacturing, etc.) are taken care of by the buyers. Most textile brands and retailers have established ties with suppliers in the textile processing industry, and they decide which companies will process the organic cotton lint according to their specific requirements.
 

It is advisable for organic cotton projects to establish links early on with strong and competent processing and trade partners who have a real interest in supporting organic cotton production. Organizing stakeholder round table meetings can help to bring together like-minded actors, who can agree on joint objectives and clarify the roles and responsibilities of each partner.

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