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Cotton Made in Africa is a project based on standards and criteria designed to help the socio-economic development of smallholder cotton farmers in sub-Saharan Africa through trade and to improve the social, ecological, and economic living conditions of these agricultural communities.

What is it?

Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) is a strategic alliance of partners from trade and industry, the public sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which contribute to the fight against poverty and environmental degradation in sub-Saharan Africa and help local cotton farmers and their families to raise their own standard of living. Criteria and standard documents can be found HERE.

CmiA income is directly reinvested to benefit smallholder farmers in the project countries. In addition to Mozambique, Malawi, Côte d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, Ghana has recently joined as one of the CmiA project countries.

What does it apply to?

CmiA finances qualification programs that teach smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa about efficient and environmentally friendly cultivation methods in accordance with CmiA verification criteria. These include proper and efficient use of pesticides and fertilisers, measures to maintain soil fertility, and water management techniques which make it possible for CmiA to be produced exclusively without artificial irrigation.

These and other approaches ensure that CmiA cotton has a smaller ecological footprint than conventionally grown cotton. The measures also help farmers to increase yields and reduce inputs, thereby improving their income.

Key elements

Compliance to CmiA is regularly checked by means of verification by independent organisations. The verification system of Cotton made in Africa was developed together with the University of Wageningen, Netherlands, and with the auditing company PricewaterhouseCoopers, the cotton companies in the project countries, and with social, environmental and development policy institutions. Verification checks whether the smallholder farmers and the cotton companies comply with the guidelines of Cotton made in Africa.

CmiA exclusion criteria includes:

  • Slavery
  • Human Trafficking
  • Child labour
  • Hazardous pesticides

CmiA’s exclusion criteria is structured on two levels. Firstly, it sets out exclusion criteria, to decide whether smallholder farmers and cotton companies can participate in the CmiA at all. These minimum requirements include, for example, a ban on slavery, human trafficking, and exploitative forms of child labour. The traditional participation of children in work on their parents’ farms is, however, permitted within the framework of the ILO Conventions and CmiA, provided that the children do not take on unsuitable or dangerous work. Such work is excluded from CmiA, under ILO Convention 138 and 182. There is also a ban on the use of hazardous pesticides (Rotterdam ProtocolsStockholm Conventions and WHO I a/b classified).

Geographic RegionAfrica
Life Cycle StageRaw Material/Feedstock
Type of StandardVoluntary standard

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