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Ethiopian farmers join CmiA sustainable cotton initiative

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-03-30 12:00:00 – Ethiopia

The Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) following successful verification in accordance with the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) sustainability standard would cooperate with the Ethiopian Cotton Producers, Exporters and Ginners Association (ECPGEA) and would now be involved in sustainable cotton farming in the North-Western Ethiopia and will provide support to more than 9,000 smallholder farmers to produce more eco cotton that attract interest from labels abroad.

According to the CmiA sustainability standards, with the addition of Ethiopian, there are now round about 650,000 smallholder farmers growing cotton. With their family members included, this totals has reached over 5.5 million people in 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, said Christoph Kaut, managing director of AbTF.

AbTF’s standard is specifically aimed at smallholder farmers in their project countries who only have a small plot of land and who are most in need of support. In order to protect the environment and vital resources, the exploitation of primary forests is forbidden, as is encroachment into established protected areas, the use of genetically modified seeds, and artificial irrigation.

CmiA’s intense guidelines are keeping Africa’s cotton farming sustainably viable. In 2014, over 150,000 tonnes of cotton were produced in accordance with the standard. As a result of the latest successful verifications in Ethiopia - adding to the work in Uganda, Tanzania and Cameroon - the quantity of CmiA-verified cotton produced looks to rise again significantly in 2015. Africa is indeed an attractive cotton industry to draw from for foreign-based eco-designers.

So far, smallholder farmers from Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia are partnering with CmiA.

Under its CmiA initiative, AbTF promotes aid by trade in order to improve the living conditions of cotton farmers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative offers cotton farmers training in modern, efficient and environmentally-friendly cultivation methods which allow them to improve the quality of their cotton, increase their crop yield and thereby generate better income.

As well as benefitting from agricultural and business training, the CmiA standard also means that smallholder farmers can rely on fair contracts with cotton companies and reliable payment for their crops.

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