GM or genetically modified cotton is controversial. Proponents claim it allows for higher yields while lowering the amount of pesticides needed. Opponents argue that the long-term effects are unknown and that GM cotton does not offer farmers any economic advantages. Many Cotton made in Africa initiative demand partners are also very skeptical.
To maintain the current CmiA standards, the Aid by Trade Foundation will meanwhile ban the use of genetically modified seeds for the CmiA label despite the fact that some African countries are have now opened the door to GM cotton. The use of genetically modified seeds is one of the exclusion criteria included in the Cotton made in Africa Standards (exclusion criteria No11).
This standpoint remains unaffected by the partnership with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). Since July 1, 2012, BCI partners have been able to purchase CmiA cotton as members of the Better Cotton Initiative. The BCI has taken a neutral position on the use of genetically modified seeds, but the cotton produced by the around 420,000 smallholder farmers involved in the CmiA initiative will continue to be completely free of genetically modified seeds.
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