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May 2, 2019

Applied DNA brings tech to Egypt cotton supply chain

By Hannah Abdulla

Egypt has employed Applied DNA’s molecular tagging technology in two varieties of cotton which will help ensure product authenticity and provenance.

Applied DNA said it received an order for its Signature T cotton traceability system in Egypt to mark two varieties of high-value Egyptian cotton. Tagging is expected to commence within the month.

The system, currently installed in eight worldwide gins, includes the use of Signature T molecular tags, internet-based data collection linking evidence of tagging process quality to each bale ID, and bar code scanning of tagged packaged bales for inventory management and tracking. The cotton fibre will be managed with strict protocols throughout the supply chain to ensure purity and traceability.

“With the receipt of this order for Egyptian cotton supply chain tagging and testing, we are moving to replicate our success in securing US cotton through its supply chain. Given the uncertainty surrounding the provenance of Egyptian cotton in the marketplace and growing calls for increased transparency and traceability by consumers, brands and industry advocates, the implementation of our Signature T cotton traceability system endeavors to ensure that the value of Egyptian cotton can be substantiated throughout its supply chain,” said Dr James A. Hayward, president and CEO of Applied DNA.

Egyptian Cotton is widely recognised by consumers as a luxury brand. A recent US consumer survey found Egyptian Cotton was the name most people associated with quality and were prepared to pay a premium for, ahead of Pima cotton, Turkish cotton and Supima.

In January, Egypt’s government said it had appointed an official steering committee to safeguard the future of the Egyptian Cotton brand after several setbacks – including a scandal that saw cheap sheets passed off as premium Egyptian cotton products. 

According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) most recent report, Egyptian cotton exports rose by more than 45% to 186,100 metric quintals in the first quarter of 2018/19. 

Meanwhile, in March, the Cotton Egypt Association and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) announced an initiative in a bid to boost sustainability efforts and improve conditions for supply chain workers of the Egyptian Cotton brand.  

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