Education is one of the most important requirements for improving the living conditions of people in Subsaharan Africa and combating causes of migration. As standard for sustainable cotton, Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) therefore puts a focus on training the participating cotton farmers in business and agriculture. CmiA also supports the fight against child labour to give as many children as possible a chance to go to school.
Matakon Hacda has a small cotton field in Mafa-Kilda, Northern Cameroun, on which he generates the proceeds that support his family. Together with his wife, he has 13 children. The fact that they do not work on the field traces back to Matakon‘s participation in the Cotton made in Africa initiative. All cotton farmers participating in the program have to comply with the criteria of the CmiA verification system. Child labour is an exclusion criterion in the CmiA standard. Regular audits conducted by independent verification agencies thereby ensure compliance.
The farmer trainings established by CmiA support the farmers in implementing the CmiA sustainability criteria. In the so-called farmer business schools the 42 year old Matakon has learnt a great deal about efficient and sustainable farming methods. As a consequence, he could already increase his yields significantly. Since his family now has more income, his children can go to school instead of helping on the farm. The CmiA-trainings not only convey knowledge about how to manage a cotton farm more economically and more environmentally friendly, but also raise awareness for topics such as child labour. The participating smallholder farmers gain an understanding about why child labour is bad and why it must be avoided. They learn that good schooling helps the entire family in the long run.
For Matakon Hacda, his partnership with the Cotton made in Africa has already improved the living conditions of his and his familiy: “Through the Farmer Business School training, we were able to benefit a lot, especially in the area of managing our farms and households . All in all, a lot has changed with these trainings: we have learned a lot about good farming practices, but also about child labour.“