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April 20, 2021

Cotton non-profits team on sustainable cultivation

The Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative is joining forces with the African Cotton Foundation (ACF) to promote socially and ecologically sustainable cotton cultivation.

By Beth Wright

The Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative is joining forces with the African Cotton Foundation (ACF) to promote socially and ecologically sustainable cotton cultivation.

CmiA is an internationally recognised standard for sustainably produced cotton from Africa, connecting African small-scale farmers with trading companies and fashion brands throughout the global textile value chain. The initiative’s objective is to employ trade rather than donations to offer help for self-help in order to improve the living conditions of around one million cotton farmers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa while protecting the environment.

The ACF, meanwhile, is a members’ organisation that comprises representatives of cotton companies and cotton traders. Its goal is to sustainably support African farmers in improving their livelihoods.

The cooperation of the two non-profit organisations is designed to encompass support for training and for other implementation measures conducted by cotton companies in CmiA’s project countries. These measures will be coordinated by the ACF and implemented by the cotton companies, which cultivate cotton in accordance with CmiA’s standards and are subject to independent annual audits.

These firms can now apply to the Aid by Trade Foundation, the parent organisation of CmiA, for co-financing for the implementation of specific activities, especially regarding innovative measures to protect the soil or to promote integrated farming.

“Sharing agricultural knowledge with small-scale farmers through workshops and training is a key priority for Cotton made in Africa,” explains Tina Stridde, managing director of the Aid by Trade Foundation. “In the African Cotton Foundation, we were able to win a partner who has become firmly established in the African cotton sector by uniting and pooling the forces of many actors who are especially committed to sustainability. We are happy to be able to count on this partner’s competence and support with the implementation of our goals, allowing us to continue successfully improving the living conditions of hundreds of thousands of small-scale farmers and making cotton cultivation in Africa more socially and environmentally sustainable.”

Belinda Edmonds, managing director of the African Cotton Foundation, adds: “The goals of both organisations are perfectly complementary. ACF is working to develop a prosperous, modern, and sustainable cotton sector in Africa. Together, we want to ensure that cotton growing is profitable, the environment is protected, the communities grow stronger, and human rights are respected.”

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