Following a superbly successful project converting 2,000 small-scale farmers to organic cotton, this project – delivered again by Pesticide Action Network UK and its local team Pesticide Action Nexus Ethiopia – aims to spread the benefits to many more of the 52,000 cotton farmers in Ethiopia.

Securing higher prices for their organic cotton, and with cotton yields 50 – 100% higher than their peers farming conventionally, the farmers involved in this project inspired many of their neighbours to ask for training. However, with a limited team and finances it would not have been possible to reach the sheer numbers of farmers interested in converting to organic.

Instead, the project is looking to scale up the benefits of reducing pesticide use by funding the experienced Ethiopian team to train government agricultural agents and some representatives from other NGOs and companies with a specially developed training toolkit. The government seems genuinely interested in promoting more sustainable methods of cotton cultivation following the last project which involved government representatives at every stage.

The training toolkit will draw on PAN UK’s wealth of experience delivering successful training cotton programmes in West Africa, and specifically its local partners recent successes bringing a wealth of health, environmental and economic benefits to Ethiopian farmers. The toolkit will be launched at national level with the Ministry of Agriculture as well as many other organisations, and will be promoted widely to encourage adoption of the resources.

With so many high street clothes shops now looking to Ethiopia as the next provider of both cotton and garments we have great hopes that much of it will be organic.