Independent Auditors Verify that all CmiA Partners in Sub-Saharan Africa Grow Cotton According to CmiA Standard
According to the latest results of the independent verification companies AfriCert and EcoCert, all six CmiA partner countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have successfully completed verification according to CmiA criteria in 2013. Beyond adhering to exclusion criteria, the verification certifies the partners significant improvements in implementing sustainability criteria.
“The positive verification results are a great success for everyone involved. They illustrate that cotton companies as CmiA-partner attach significant importance to a constant improvement and a fair cooperation with the CmiA smallholder farmers as well as its employees in the cotton gins,” said Christoph Kaut, Managing Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation. The auditors verified the considerable success in training in field activities for all six cotton companies. In 16 cases, cotton companies showed improvements in meeting individual CmiA criteria compared to the previous year. Through regularly conducted on-site training in sustainable cultivation of cotton the participating smallholder farmers are increasingly implementing social and environmentally friendly practices in their farming. Approximately 90% of smallholder farmers already observe soil and water conversation. Roughly 8 of 10 cotton companies received verification that the smallholder farmers plant cotton crops in rotation with other staple foods.
A large majority of partners now meets the maximum requirements of the CmiA standards for pesticide management. However, the handling and storage of pesticides continue to be a problem in some regions, despite promotion of safety measures through e.g. protective clothing. On-site inspections suggest that in some countries, the smallholder farmers do not correctly implement the instructions provided in training sessions. This is one important field of activity for Cotton made in Africa in 2014. The cooperation between smallholder farmers and cotton companies shows itself as all around positive and fair. All CmiA smallholders now have written agreements. Cotton companies additionally provide smallholder farmers with transparent information on prices for inputs and cottonseed. After delivering their cotton, all smallholder farmers are paid after no later than 30 days. Furthermore, a total of 21 cotton ginneries were evaluated as part of the CmiA verifications. The result shows that almost all employees of the cotton ginneries, both full-time and seasonal employees, have written contracts, their pay is at least the national minimum wage, and they are free to assemble. Thus, 435,000 smallholder farmers and ten cotton companies received a renewed license to sell cotton with the CmiA seal of approval. The complete verification report can be found here: Aggregated Verification Report 2013