The Cotton Made in Africa (CmiA) initiative has proved positive for African cotton farmers, as it provides secure payment in a timely manner, is compliant with International Labor Organization Core Labor Conventions and offers more transparency between managing entities and their workers.
The CmiA initiative works to sustainably improve the living conditions of cotton farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, the fifth largest cotton exporter in the world.
“Cotton made in Africa successfully campaigns for international rights to be applied to the people who produce the raw materials for our clothing, namely the cotton farmers and workers in the cotton industry in Africa. Our standard works to the advantage of hundreds of thousands of smallholder families in the cotton growing regions and the environment,” said Tina Stridde, managing director of the Aid by Trade Foundation.
According to the latest CmiA verification report for 2014, verifications at Field and Ginnery Level showed that all CmiA cotton companies comply with the International Labor Organization’s Core Labor Conventions, which include freedom of association and collective bargaining.
Verifications confirmed a constant high level of compliance in social issues and fair conditions for contracted farmers and gin workers as well. While the majority of farmers are paid upon delivery or during the following week, all farmers now receive cash payment for the delivered cotton, at the latest, 30 days after delivery.
Farmers are informed and aware of the final cost before committing to producing cotton. All cotton companies also provide farmers with pre-financed inputs, which eliminate the initial cost for contracted smallholder farmers. Seventy-three percent of verified companies’ ratings showed a good understanding of pre-financing terms by farmers.
The report also revealed that all managing entities provide transparent contractual agreements to their employees and pay ginnery workers at least the national legal minimum wages. Sixteen out of 18 managing entities received a “green” rating, meaning permanent employees are paid wages that are above national minimum wages or corresponding sector agreements.
Despite this progress, there are still some remaining challenges the CmiA said it is working to overcome, inlcuding difficulties in the areas of occupational health and safety in the ginneries and fields.