Cotton made in Africa with record successes

For the first time, Cotton made in Africa supports more than one million cotton farmers in AfricaMagazine for Textiles, Clothing, Leather and Technology

Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) was founded in 2005 by Dr. Michael Otto as a social business to protect the environment and to support smallholder farmers and their families in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2017, a record sum of some 90 million textiles bore the CmiA quality label. For the first time, more than one million African cotton farmers benefit from every single textile by cooperating with the sustainability initiative. For the first time, Cotton made in Africa cooperates with more than one million cotton farmers, 17 percent of whom are women. Dr. Michael Otto, founder of CmiA, says delighted: “Africa is close to my heart – both personally and as a businessman, I feel very connected to our neighbouring continent. When I founded the Cotton made in Africa initiative back in 2005, I was very aware about the fact that our future also depends on overcoming the big challenges in Africa. Here, CmiA offers solutions and a chance to positively touch the lives of millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Magazine for Textiles, Clothing, Leather and Technology

Dr. Michael Otto, founder of CmiA

On average, a CmiA smallholder farmer has a crop area of just under 1.5 hectares. In addition to farmers, more than 11,000 factory workers in the African cotton processing industry are part of the initiative. Around 496,000 metric tons of ginned cotton from Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda have been produced according to the CmiA sustainability criteria in 2017. CmiA cotton is grown in different climatic zones in Sub-Saharan Africa. Just as divergent are the cotton harvest periods per country. To facilitate communication and to communicate reliable, up-to-date figures, the data rely on results from concluded harvest seasons CmiA cotton is grown, harvested and ginned in (West-and Central Africa 2016/2017; South and East Africa: 2017/2018. The label for sustainable cotton stands for environmental protection and training in sustainable and modern cotton cultivation. The training enables smallholder farmers to improve their working and living conditions through their own efforts. In addition, CmiA certifies the work in the so-termed ginneries, the first step in the further processing of cotton.

In total, CmiA achieved a record amount of around 90 million textiles which bore the CmiA label in 2017. This is a 79 percent increase compared to the previous year. “We achieved a record of about 90 million CmiA labelled textiles. Sustainability is not a niche product anymore”, stresses Tina Stridde, Managing Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation. “Every textile that bears the CmiA label is a step in the right direction. Because every CmiA labelled product protects the environment and supports millions of people in Africa in creating a new perspective for themselves in their home country”, Stridde continues. For each textile wearing the CmiA certificate, a license fee flows back into the project areas. Instead of transferring donations, the initiative has thus chosen a market approach. A total of 36 companies and brands currently order CmiA cotton– among them the Otto Group with Bonprix and OTTO, the Rewe Group, Tchibo, Aldi Süd, Jack & Jones and Asos. Smaller fair fashion brands such as Hiitu and Cooekid from Uganda also use CmiA certified cotton to set an example in the industry.


About Cotton made in Africa

 Cotton made in Africa (CmiA), an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) founded by Dr. Michael Otto in 2005, is the biggest label for sustainable cotton from Africa. Instead of donations, its aim is to help people to help themselves through trade, so as to improve the living conditions of hundreds of thousands of cotton farmers and their families in sub-Saharan Africa and to protect the environment. The sustainably certified cotton is in demand from textile companies and brands worldwide and is processed into textiles. Consumers can recognize CmiA on the product through a small, wine-red label, and support the smallholder farmers and the protection of the environment with every purchase.


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