Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and the African Cotton Foundation (ACF) started a new joint initiative – the Innovations Club. The Innovations Club platform brings together regional and international experts, researchers, agronomists, and extension specialists committed to finding the most effective, practical, and implementable practices to urgently regenerate African smallholder farming eco-systems.
Over 40 agricultural advisors from CmiA certified cotton companies and members of the ACF from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, and Zambia gathered in Abidjan. Over three days, they took the opportunity to learn from and engage with many highly respected expert speakers. They shared experiences and engaged in robust discussion on topics including regenerative farming methodologies, composting methods, biochar production, biological crop protection and much more.
The African continent is facing a multitude of challenges from a changing climate, loss of biodiversity and soil fertility and declining availability of water. Both CmiA and ACF have shown a strong and enduring commitment to improving the livelihoods of cotton farming families and protecting the environment. Under these existing challenges, achieving the intended positive impact is becoming more difficult every day. The transformation pressure on cotton and other agro-based sectors in Africa is immense.
Tina Stridde, CEO of the Aid by Trade Foundation, which owns the CmiA standards, states: “Stakeholders in the African cotton community need to act fast and extensively. We believe “more” and “better” of established practices, including the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, are not sufficient anymore. We need bold interventions and solutions. Innovations and technologies play a central role. They allow quantum leaps and developments without detours into a more sustainable future.”
Belinda Edmonds, CEO of ACF adds: “African smallholder farmers face multiple challenges threatening their livelihoods, potentially increasing poverty levels and raising the threat of famine and other socio-economic and environmental catastrophes in many parts of the continent. We must regenerate our soils and rebuild healthy eco-systems as a matter of urgency. Nature has the solutions we need, but we must implement innovative and practical practices that support and speed up its processes. We are proud to partner with CmiA and our cotton producing partners to deliver continually improving training and other services to approximately 1 million farmers we jointly serve.”
CmiA and ACF have a shared commitment to continuously support the cotton sector to tackle various challenges, not only via such workshop events, but also through ongoing exchange in the framework of the now launched Innovations Club and through targeted co-financing for the introduction and roll-out of innovations that build healthier ecosystems.
About the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) & Cotton made in Africa (CmiA)
The Cotton made in Africa initiative (CmiA) was founded in 2005 under the umbrella of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF). CmiA is an internationally recognised standard for sustainably produced cotton from Africa, connecting African small-scale farmers with trading companies and fashion brands throughout the global textile value chain. The initiative’s objective is to employ trade rather than donations to protect nature and improve the living conditions of around one million cotton farmers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa. Small-scale farmers and ginnery workers benefit from better working conditions. Additional projects in the fields of school education, environmental protection, health, and women’s empowerment support farming communities in improving their living conditions. Learn more at: https://cottonmadeinafrica.org/
About the African Cotton Foundation (ACF)
Founded in 2018, the African Cotton Foundation (ACF) is a members’ organisation that comprises representatives of cotton companies and cotton traders. Its goal is to sustainably support African farmers in improving their livelihoods. To this end, ACF employs its members’ infrastructure to implement services and development projects that significantly improve the income, food security, and resilience of small-scale farming households in a co-ordinated, sustainable, and scalable way. Learn more at: https://www.africacotton.org/