Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) welcomes a new project country in Southeast Africa: 75,000 smallholder cotton farmers in Mozambique will join and participate in the initiative. Mozambique, like the other project countries, numbers among the poorest and least developed countries in the world. CmiA’s aim is to help people help themselves through trade, breaking the vicious circle of poverty and improving the living conditions of now more than 420,000 African smallholder farmers in six African countries.
Mozambique follows Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi and Zambia to become the sixth project country for Cotton made in Africa. Locally the initiative will collaborate with the cotton company Mozambique Plexus. Overall around 255,000 smallholder farmers and their family members will profit from this partnership. The initiative and its supporting organisation, the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF), estimate 13,325 tons of ginned cotton from Mozambique in harvest season 2011/12. Christoph Kaut, Managing Director of the foundation and responsible for the development policy area reports: “Our goal is to fight poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. With the addition of smallholder farmers and their families in Mozambique, our work now reaches a total of over 2.6 million people and will produce an estimated 160,000 tons of ginned cotton this year. This means that around 15 per cent of all cotton produced in sub-Saharan Africa is already being sustainably cultivated in accordance with the CmiA standards.”
Around 80 per cent of the population of Mozambique work in agriculture. Cotton, along with cashew nuts, sugar, shrimp and crayfish, numbers among the most important agricultural products. Although Mozambique is by now one of the fastest growing national economies in Africa, the country is still one of the poorest and least developed nations in the world. On the Human Development Index, the United Nation’s prosperity indicator, this Southeast African country ranks forth from last. 55 per cent of the population live in absolute poverty; life expectancy is 50.2 years.