**Water Efficiency in Rice and Cotton**

Project completed

The project aims at improving the household economy combined with the promotion of more efficient  production of rice and cotton of 45,000 smallholder families in two regional clusters: Central Asia (Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan) and South Asia (India, Pakistan). To motivate rice and cotton farmers to be more efficient with irrigation water and other inputs, a push-pull approach is applied: smallholders receive technical assistance and market access for more efficient production while private companies enter into reliable business partnerships.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Agriculture & food security
Agricultural water resources
Water supply
Water sector policy
Agricultural development
01.10.2014 - 30.06.2018
CHF  3’454’600

Rice and Cotton are two key crops. While rice is the most important staple food for humans, cotton is a key commodity for the textile industry. These two crops consume around 30% of the world irrigation water. Around 250 million smallholders are involved in the cultivation of rice and cotton. Cotton is relevant for food security because of its qualities in crop rotation as well as for income generation capacity. Furthermore, cotton seed oil is the most relevant kitchen oil in cotton regions.


To improve water use efficiency of rice and cotton, firstly by promoting effective water use as well as better agronomic approaches, and by involving the private sector as well as platforms such as the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) and Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS).

Target groups

45’000 smallholders (15% of women; 85% of men) in four countries: India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic.

Medium-term outcomes
  • Rice and cotton farmers adopt more efficient and more effective production methods (push)
  • Private sector companies purchase commodities from farmers who produce with more efficient and more sustainable methods (pull)
  • Multi-stakeholder water stewardship plans are implemented (water policy)
  • Push-Pull approach is scaled up to more farmers and more companies

Expected results:  

  • RAS for 45’000 smallholders
  • Secured market access for 70 to 80% of the farmers
  • Policy influencing at local level
  • Crowding-in of new companies.

Results from previous phases:  

  • Stakeholder workshops in the four countries organised and joint planning
  • Negotiations with private sector companies successfully completed
  • Baselines elaborated and ready for use
  • Joint elaboration of project document with a strong joint ownership

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
  • HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

Other partners

Coop, Reismühle Brunnen, Mars Food, Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP), Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation.

Coordination with other projects and actors
  • Coordination with SDC programs on efficient water use in the two geographic clusters
  • CORIGAP (Closing rice yield gaps in Asia)
  • FIBL – Langzeitversuch für biologischen Landbau
  • Grow Africa
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    3’454’600 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    3’409’282 Total project since first phase Budget inclusive project partner CHF   6’000’000
Project phases Phase 2 01.11.2018 - 31.12.2022   (Current phase)

Phase 1 01.10.2014 - 31.10.2018   (Completed)