The Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) was invited to present the Cotton made in Africa initiative at the French Cotton Association (AFCOT) conference, which was held in Deauville on September 30th and October 1st, 2019. Over 300 people from five continents took part in the event. The CmiA Representative in Western and Central Africa, Younoussa Imorou Ali, gave a presentation titled “Major Sustainability Trends and Effects for Producers”.
Key messages of the speech included the AbTF’s conviction that sustainability actually is more than a trend, but a phenomenon which is here to stay. It has been embedded at national legislation and corporate policy level. Successful organisations promote its implementation and work on developing more sustainable and transparent production. An ever-increasing number of consumers around the world demand that their goods are sustainably produced and expect that the can trace their products back to their origins via clear and transparent value- and supply chains. If the cotton industry is to cope with these ever-increasing demands, it too needs to become more sustainable and transparent. The Cotton made in Africa Standard and the Aid by Trade Foundation can play a key role in enabling stakeholders within the cotton producing countries and regions of Sub-Saharan Africa to make this shift.
The discussion, which followed the presentation, was driven by three major questions: First, who can become a CmiA partner and how is the process. Secondly, why CmiA is not implemented in more countries. Finally, it was questioned whether the currently achieved impact through trainings and additional community projects is sufficient to justify the efforts made by farmers to change their system from “conventional” to “sustainable”. While the first two questions were straight forward to answer, the last question is rather considered a major task and long-term work assignment to CmiA.
The Aid by Trade Foundation thanks the French Cotton Association for the opportunity to give the cotton industry’s executives food for thought and vice versa.
Picture: © Francois Louchet