More than 85,000 tons of cotton was sold through the CmiA scheme in 2013

More than 85,000 tons of cotton was sold through the CmiA scheme in 2013

The Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative designed to help African cotton farmers, generated licensing revenues of more than EUR1m (US$1.3m) for the first time last year, with more than 85,000 tons of cotton sold through the scheme.

The first annual report published this week by CmiA, an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF), said the gains were largely due to increasing uptake by textile companies and fashion brands, with the Otto Group and Tchibo its two largest customers.

"In 2013, around 25m units with the CmiA seal were placed on the market," it notes, adding that demand is being buoyed by the trend to source more sustainable textiles.

While the main focus of sales of CmiA cotton is to end-users based in Germany, expansion to international brands and retailers in markets such as North America and France is one of the next goals set out for the scheme.

"This positive result shows that we are successfully putting the credo of Cotton made in Africa, aid through trade and not through donations, into action," says Tina Stridde, spokeswoman for the Aid by Trade Foundation.

"An increasing number of companies are making a conscious decision to use Cotton made in Africa cotton and feature their products with the CmiA quality label. This is a win-win situation for everyone involved: for farmers in Africa as well as for the consumers here."

A total of 440,000 smallholder farmers in Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire were verified according to the foundation's criteria standards in 2013, with 95% of farmers also benefiting from pre-financing for their expenditures on seed or fertilizers.

The cooperation projects involve building schools in the African project areas, ensuring clean drinking water supply, or supporting women's cooperatives.