Egypt has signed a €1.5 million ($1.74 million) cooperation agreement with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation to develop Egyptian cotton production. The agreement aims at enhancing the quality and quantity of Egyptian cotton for both domestic and export markets.
The project titled ‘Cotton: from seeding to weaving’ aims to raise the capacity of cotton farms in terms of sustainable agricultural practices for growing organic cotton. It also aims to improve the economic performance of projects operating in the field of manufacturing long-staple cotton, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), developing supply chains, managing production, and developing industrial technologies and marketing systems.
The project further aims to raise the skills of textile workers, and thereby increase the production capacity of private sector companies working in the textile industry. UNIDO, the Italian agency and the Egyptian government will offer training programmes for cotton growers, technicians working in textile companies, as well as students in industrial and agricultural schools.
Egyptian minister of industry and trade Tarek Kabil said that the project’s duration will be of two years, during which 400 farmers would be trained on sustainable agricultural practices, particularly, growing organic cotton. In addition, production capacities would be strengthened at 15 companies from the private sector operating in the textile industry. Around 300 workers would benefit from skill development, while training programmes in industrial and agricultural schools would benefit 300 students.
The new project will benefit from UNIDO’s experience in the value chain system, and it will promote organic cotton and support cotton manufacturing through optimal and efficient use of resources, said Giovanna Ceglie, director and UNIDO representative at Egypt.
The spinning and weaving industry contributes 3 per cent to Egypt’s gross domestic product (GDP), and employs about one-third of the industrial labour manpower. The industry earns $2.6 billion in foreign exchange, and accounts for 15 per cent of Egyptian non-petroleum exports.