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Cotton Made in Africa (CMiA): Association Helping Cotton Growers in Africa

Cotton Made in Africa (CMiA) is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) that helps people help themselves through trade, improving the social, economic and ecological living conditions of smallholder cotton farmers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through training programs, Cotton made in Africa teaches the cotton farmers about modern, efficient, and environmentally friendly cultivation methods that help them improve the quality of their cotton, yield higher crops, and thus earn a better income.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the fifth largest cotton exporter worldwide. Cotton is grown there by about 3.4 million smallholder farmers.  A total of more than 20 million people in the region are directly or indirectly living from cotton.  Cotton thus plays a key role in fighting poverty and makes a major contribution to food security in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa.  So far, African smallholder farmers have not been fully able to use this potential to improve their economic living conditions, as they are faced with many challenges such as fluctuating world market prices, low productivity, and poor infrastructure.

Against this background, the Cotton made in Africa initiative has set itself the goal since 2005 to sustainably improve the living conditions of cotton farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa.

African smallholders learn about efficient and environmentally friendly cultivation methods through agricultural training provided by their experts. At the same time, they establish an international alliance of textile companies which purchase the Cotton made in Africa raw material and pay a licensing fee to use the seal. The proceeds from licensing fees, in following with the workings of a social business, are reinvested in the project regions of Sub-Saharan Africa.

In order to successfully implement our objectives, the interactive relationship between private companies in the textile industry and cotton trade on the one hand and public sponsors on the other hand, forms the basis of their work. Within the framework of the Competitive African Cotton Initiative (COMPACI) the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) and the German International Cooperation (GIZ) are close cooperation partners. The Competitive African Cotton Initiative (COMPACI) was founded in 2005 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) due to the success of the pilot phase of Cotton made in Africa.  It is responsible for financing contracts with the African partners as well as for imparting technical know-how.  In addition, non-governmental organizations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Welthungerhilfe (Welthungerhilfe) were involved in the development of standards criteria from the outset.

Cotton made in Africa is the first to offer a sustainable raw material for the mass market. The Supply Chain Management division supports Cotton made in Africa's corporate partners in integrating sustainable cotton into the downstream production units worldwide. The partners can thus achieve their business sustainability goals without compromising on a value chain that is both pragmatic and optimized for cost and time.

In the Cotton made in Africa system, partners have a choice as to the level of transparency that should be established in the value chain. This involves the use of two different systems that offer different product statements and communication opportunities as well as product awards and presentations.

They make a distinction between the Hard Identity Preserved (HIP) and Mass Balance (Mass Balance MB) variants for further processing of cotton. Both systems guarantee full traceability from cultivation to the cotton gin right through to the spinning mill. After these phases, the difference in the two systems is noticeable, and the degree of transparency changes accordingly.  You can learn more about the Chain of Custody Guidelines at http://www.cottonmadeinafrica.org/en/deutsch-docs/textile-kette/62-coc-guidelines-2014-12-2014/file

Learn more about Cotton Made in Africa at http://www.cottonmadeinafrica.org/

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