One of Cotton made in Africa‘s key tasks is supporting female cotton farmers in rural Africa. 17% of all farmers participating in the CmiA program are women. Biira Lawuniyeda is one of them. As smallholder farmer from western Uganda, she participates in the CmiA program, cultivates sustainable CmiA cotton and receives training in both business and agricultural practices. For Biira, learning how to manage her farm like a small business was important. In the so-called Farmer Business Schools, she has learned how to assess market and production risks and how to reasonably manage her budget and savings: “I am now able to pay school fees for my children and I have also started a retail business from the incomes I obtained from cotton sales”, she reports. For Biira and other female cotton farmers in rural Africa it is a big step to learn how to manage a farm efficiently and be able to invest income from cotton sales on their own. Besides their hard work in the fields, women often take care of the children and the general welfare of the entire family. But learning about new agricultural and even business methods was not part of their curriculum before. In the trainings, Biira has also learned how to best cultivate her field and increase her yields through new methods: “The farmer training program has helped me increase my cotton yield”, she reports happily. She explains that ever since using her new skills on the field, she is receiving up to twice as much yield as before.
For CmiA, supporting women in their daily work and life means supporting them in their position as role models for other women as they are real multi-talents on the farm, in the cotton business and in the family. Behind the scenes they are a driving force when it comes to sustainable improvements for the whole community. Against this backdrop, CmiA has set up a special program for women in the cotton farming business. In addition to the set of gender-related sustainability criteria ensured by the CmiA standard, trainings are tailored to the particular needs of and challenges for female farmers. The CmiA program also entails the initiation of female working groups, gender equality trainings in the rural communities and the support of small start-ups led by women. All this allows women to stand up in the community as proud female cotton farmers and in the end enables them to improve their living conditions and those of their families on their own. Here you can read more about how CmiA supports women.