A project to reduce and prevent contamination of cotton in West Africa has helped more than 30,000 cotton farmers in Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali over the past three years.

The initiative, funded by the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) and the European Union and sponsored by the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), was completed in March 2013.

Benefits to farmers from the elimination of contamination have included increased revenue and reduced disputes over seed cotton grades at the time of procurement.

African producers lose between 5% and 30% of the value of cotton production each season because of contamination.

Cotton provides cash incomes to an estimated 10m people in western and central Africa and represents a significant portion of the export earnings of countries in the region.

The project provided training to producers, seed cotton handlers, truck drivers and ginners on best practice in the collection, storage, transportation and ginning of cotton.

It also facilitated greater traceability of cotton from field to gin to identify and eliminate sources of contamination.