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African Cotton Groups Band Together for Sustainability’s Sake

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

The cooperation of these two non-profit organizations will 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 African Cotton Foundation and executed by the companies that cultivate cotton in accordance with CmiA’s standards and are subject to independent annual audits.

They can now apply to the Aid by Trade Foundation, the parent organization of CmiA, for co-financing for the enactment of specific activities, especially regarding innovative measures to protect the soil or to promote integrated farming. As the primary standard for sustainable cotton in Africa, CmiA supports more than 1 million small-scale farmers in 10 countries.

“Sharing agricultural knowledge with small-scale farmers through workshops and training is a key priority for Cotton made in Africa,” Tina Stridde, managing director of the Aid by Trade Foundation, said. “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…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.”

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Belinda Edmonds, managing director of the African Cotton Foundation, said the goals of both groups “are perfectly complementary.”

“ACF is working to develop a prosperous, modern and sustainable cotton sector in Africa,” Edmonds said. “Together, we want to ensure that cotton growing is profitable, the environment is protected, the communities grow stronger and human rights are respected.”

Established by the Hamburg-based Aid by Trade Foundation, CmiA is an internationally recognized 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 1 million cotton farmers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa while protecting the environment. The small-scale farmers benefit from training and better working conditions, and additional social projects enable their children to attend school. Female small-scale farmers are supported in pursuing professional and social independence.

Founded in 2018, the African Cotton Foundation comprises representatives of cotton companies and traders. Its goal is to sustainably support African farmers in improving their livelihoods, using members’ infrastructure to implement services and development projects that significantly improve the income, food security, and resilience of small-scale farming households in a co-ordinated, sustainable and scalable way.