Cotton as a natural fiber is one of the most important raw materials in the textile value chain. With around 30 million tons projected for 2030, it ranges second of the total fiber demand according to FAO after polyester. African cotton is almost exclusively produced by smallholders who depend on it as a cash crop. This means, many farmers make a living for themselves and their kids with the income they gain from cotton. But the cotton business is tough. Farmers in rural Africa have to face hard physical work, low access to training, inputs and international trade as well as the consequences of climate change. On top of that, African farmers are hardly visible in public.
Two out of the one million farmers CmiA is cooperating with are Sabina and Paul – a cotton farming couple from Tanzania. Sabina and Paul grow cotton on their small farm together. They only had the chance to finish primary school. What helps them a lot on a daily basis are the agricultural trainings CmiA is offering farmers in close cooperation with the local cotton company Alliance. Thereby they learn about new and sustainable cultivation methods and techniques that help them improve their yields and income. The trainings are led by an extension officer who trains a small group of farmers on a regular basis on different aspects of cotton farming and beyond. During their trainings Sabina and Paul also learned about the bio-pesticides: “At the beginning we were wondering if it really works. But now, we are very happy with it”, they said and added satisfied “with the help of bio-pesticides we were able to protect our cotton better against pests and thus harvest more cotton at the end of the season than the year before.” Asked about what they wish for their son Johann, they said: “We want our children to learn more than we did. Our wish for our son Johann would be to become a teacher at school.“
Any textile bearing the Cotton made in Africa label is playing a valuable part in protecting the environment and supporting the people in the cotton growing regions. Consumers can recognize the textiles by a Cotton made in Africa label. In 2018, CmiA‘s record level of uptake and production experienced a historic level. The uptake of CmiA cotton rose by more than 14 percent on the previous year. 46 partnering retailers and brands produced about 103 million CmiA labelled textiles. About 100 textile producers in 19 textile production markets worldwide – thereof seven in Africa – work with CmiA certified cotton from Africa. A total of 580,000 tons of ginned cotton were certified according to the Cotton made in Africa standard in 2018.