Following successful verification in accordance with the Cotton Made in Africa sustainability standard, the Aid by Trade Foundation is now involved in sustainable cotton farming in northwestern Ethiopia, supporting over 9,000 smallholder farmers. Cotton Made in Africa is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation, which promotes aid by trade to improve the living conditions of cotton farmers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The foundation cooperates locally with the Ethiopian Cotton Producers, Exporters & Ginners Association. With Ethiopia joining farmers from Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana, Cameroon and Ivory Coast, the initiative now reaches over 5 million people in Africa.
“With the addition of Ethiopia, there are now about 650,000 smallholder farmers growing cotton according to the CmiA sustainability standards,” said Christoph Kaut, managing director of Aid for Trade. “Our standard is specifically aimed at smallholder farmers in our project countries who only have a small plot of land and who are most in need of support. In order to protect the environment and vital resources, the exploitation of primary forests is forbidden, as is encroachment into established protected areas, the use of genetically modified seeds and artificial irrigation.”
Last year, over 150,000 tons of cotton were produced in accordance with the Cotton Made in Africa standard. With the CmiA standard, the foundation is campaigning for social justice for cotton farmers and workers in the ginning factories, healthy living conditions and the protection of the environment. As well as benefitting from agricultural and business training, the CmiA partnership also means that smallholder farmers can rely on fair contracts with the cotton companies and reliable payment for their crops.