Following successful verification in accordance with the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) sustainability standard, the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) will now be involved in sustainable cotton farming in North-Western Ethiopia, supporting over 9,000 smallholder farmers. The Foundation cooperates locally with the Ethiopian Cotton Producers, Exporters and Ginners Association (ECPGEA). As a result, the initiative now reaches over 5 million people in Africa.
“With the addition of Ethiopia, there are now round about 650,000 smallholder farmers growing cotton according to the CmiA sustainability standards. With their family members included, this totals over 5.5 million people in 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. 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,” said Christoph Kaut, Managing Director of the Foundation. Last year, over 150,000 tonnes of cotton were produced in accordance with the CmiA standard. As a result of the latest successful verifications in Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Cameroon, the quantity of CmiA-verified cotton produced will rise again significantly in 2015. 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.