Since its foundation in June 2005, the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative has established strong and reliable trade relationships between international textile companies and African cotton farmers on a level playing field. One of the most important markets for CmiA textiles is China. As the demand for CmiA cotton is constantly increasing CmiA has organized two cotton Regional Conferences in Qingdao and Guangzhou. On August 1st and 3rd more than 160 experts attended the workshops, representing actors along the textile value chain – from spinning mills to ready-made garment and fabric producers right through to cotton traders, merchandisers and representatives of internationally operating textile companies.
Christian Barthel, Director Supply Chain Management for Cotton made in Africa, draws a positive conclusion: “There was an incredible interest in both Regional Conference we organized in China. Our work is to connect smallholder farmers in Africa with the international textile industry. Both events enabled us to further introduce our work to the Chinese market.” Special focus lied on the issue of transparency and the integration of CmiA cotton into the respective supply chains of large retailers and brands: “It was very important to me to show which sourcing and up-scaling advantages CmiA offers to Chinese textile companies. Thanks to our sourcing services, we enable our partners to integrate CmiA cotton efficiently and transparently. Thereby, our partners can combine transparency with profitability – a win-win situation for supply chain actors and farmers as the up-take of CmiA cotton thereby grows”, Barthel explains further.
Thomas Reinhart, Member of the Management Board of the Paul Reinhart AG , one of the world’s leading cotton traders, underlined the benefits CmiA offers and which important role China plays for the creation of value when it comes to an increasing demand for CmiA cotton. Henning Hammer, CEO from Otto Stadtlander, another CmiA partner and important cotton trader worldwide, also emphasised that sustainable cotton in general and CmiA in particular are becoming more and more important for the international cotton and textile sector.
Thomas Neidel, Import Manager for the international fashion company bonprix, explained that in 2017 already 90% of their cotton comes from China, India and Bangladesh. In total, his company foresees to use 25.000 tons of CmiA certified cotton from Africa within this year.
The attendees perceived both workshops as a great kick-off for further Cotton Regional Conferences to strengthen collaborations and their textile network.