New CmiA-Organic Standard Creates Market Access and Social Added Value for African Organic Cotton Farmers
The Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) is the largest cotton initiative in Africa and is committed to integrating cotton originating from Africa into the textile industry with increasing success. The foundation is now also dedicated to promoting organic cotton production in Africa as well as its competitiveness on international markets. After successful verification of the Tanzanian cotton company BioSustain, organic cotton according to the CmiA Organic Standard is now available on the market.
"The new CmiA Organic Standard will benefit both the more than 9,000 successfully verified cotton farmers in Tanzania as well as textile companies worldwide as we are also working on market access for CmiA Organic cotton according to the market-oriented CmiA principles," explains Tina Stridde, Managing Director of the foundation, during the official announcement of the news at this year's Textile Exchange conference in Portland, USA.
Cotton is one of the main sources of income in the poorest regions of rural Africa. Against this backdrop, the Aid by Trade Foundation is intensifying its commitment to a more sustainable production both for people and nature with its current Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) Standard. As an extension to the portfolio, it now also offers CmiA Organic cotton. The new standard compliments the existing Eco Standard EC No. 834/2007 and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) with the social and economic criteria of CmiA. By expanding the existing organic cotton standards to social and economic criteria from the CmiA standard, the foundation creates more than just ecological added value with Cotton made in Africa-Organic in additional regions of Africa. Through its economic and social components it ensures higher yields, a fair income for the farmers, measures towards the advancement of women, and investments in school infrastructure, for example. This significantly contributes to reducing poverty and ensuring food security for organic cotton farmers in Africa. It also increases the competitiveness of organic cotton originating from African thanks to its marketable approach.
The CmiA-Organic standard was developed on the initiative of AbTF in close cooperation with independent experts for standard development, organic cotton farmers, local actors, and Textile Exchange.
Aid by Trade Foundation's Local Partner Focuses on the Production of Food Crops
Cargill Zimbabwe, a local partner of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) and its Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative in the Southeast African country, withdraw from the cotton sector of Zimbabwe with immediate effect. The company will fully dedicate its work to the production of food crops.
Since the initiation of the partnership in late 2011, Cargill and CmiA have made major achievements in Zimbabwe as participating smallholder farmers are increasingly implementing social and environmentally friendly practices in farming. Now the company will stop its activities in the cotton sector in Zimbabwe for economic reasons. The Aid by Trade Foundation will not withdraw from the country though, and continue to support participating cotton farmers and their families in improving their living conditions through its existing cooperation with the cotton company Alliance.
Cotton is considered as one of the three main important export goods. Its production lies almost entirely in the hands of smallholder farmers. Zimbabwe is still one of the poorest countries in the world. Life expectancy is almost 53 years. It ranks 172 out of 187 on the Human Development Index.
10-15-2014 International Day of Rural Women
Strong women are instrumental in combating poverty and hunger in rural regions in Africa. At the same time, they suffer the most from the precarious living conditions. This is where the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) and its Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) Initiative comes in. CmiA provides women in the CmiA cotton growing regions with the opportunity of equal access to education and economic independence primarily through training and financial support. In total, currently around 85,000 women benefit from the program. The initiative, in collaboration with its partners, supports women's cooperatives in northern Côte d'Ivoire in which over 2,800 women are members.
The world needs strong women. Strong women whose self-confidence is steadily growing thanks to the special support they receive, the solidarity, and mutual support in a group, are key to sustainable development in rural Africa. In the Côte d'Ivoire, women's cooperatives have enjoyed a long history of tradition. The Aid by Trade Foundation and the DEG (German Investment and Development Company) together with the local cotton company Ivoire Coton support 38 women's cooperatives with more than 2,800 members in northern Côte d'Ivoire with 100,000 euros.
By joining a cooperative, the women receive financial support to cultivate fields, grow vegetables, and sell their harvest together. This provides them with their own additional income which guarantees them a bit of independence and benefits the family directly. Whereas this joint income often has to be used for daily needs, the cooperative enables them to finance necessary expenses of individual members. These expenses include hospitalization in case of illness or birth as well as school supplies for the children. Koné Fomegokama, a 40-year-old mother of 5 children from Boundiali, is excited about this opportunity: "My husband left me nine years ago. I was all alone and did not know how I would be able to feed my children. I now grow vegetables, corn, and rice in the cooperative. The best thing about our cooperative is that we women always come together when one of us needs help. The cooperative has also helped me to earn money for my children's education. Each of my five children now go to school. I could not have done it alone. But together you can achieve a great deal."
"By supporting women in the CmiA growing regions, we make a significant contribution to helping CmiA smallholder farmers improve the living conditions of their families and entire communities," said Tina Stridde, Managing Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation, "since the cooperative's activities are not only designed to advance and promote women. Some groups invest their income to repair water pumps in the village or donate part of the harvest to school cafeterias."
Officially, the International Day of Rural Women was adopted in 2007 by the UN General Assembly and celebrated for the first time on October 15, 2008. According to the United Nations, women in rural areas including indigenous women, play a crucial role in promoting agricultural and rural development, improving food security, and in helping combat rural poverty.
Sustainable Cotton for school education in Benin and Zambia
Tchibo and the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) have been committed to expanding the school infrastructure in the rural areas of Africa since several years. Thereby they support children of African cotton farmers beyond supporting sustainable cotton production. In Benin in western Africa, the school project was successfully completed this year. Another school project underway will also benefit numerous children in Zambia. One of the children who benefit from this commitment is 13 year old Mary. A moving film accompanies her and Hannah from Germany throughout a normal school day: http://youtu.be/3vknwEzjV0s.
Both Benin in western Africa and Zambia in eastern Africa are among the poorest countries in the world. This especially affects the rural population. Going to school is a rarity for many African children. To provide children of cotton farmers with the opportunity to receive an education is the goal of Tchibo and the Aid by Trade Foundation with its Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative. Tchibo and the AbTF laid the cornerstone of their commitment in 2010 in cooperation with local partners, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) in Benin. The school project was completed this year and proved to be a great success: More than 750 children were able to learn in a peaceful atmosphere thanks to five newly built school buildings equipped with solar energy. In 66 newly constructed school cafeterias, the children of farmers receive healthy meals prepared with food from the new school gardens. In addition, the school libraries were equipped with 10,000 books, and there are 20,000 locally produced school uniforms for the children.
Expanding the Commitment in Zambia
Since 2012, Tchibo and the Aid by Trade Foundation together with the local cotton company Cargill and the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) in the context of developing partnerships with the private sector engage in Zambia. With five built schools first successful results can also be celebrated in this country from which the children of African smallholders benefit primarily: Each school complex is equipped with its own borehole. This ensures that both the school children and the surrounding communities have access to clean drinking water. Five additional school buildings are expected to be completed by mid 2015. At the already built and those that will be finished in 2015 school gardens will ensure children's food security and a place where the children playfully learn the basics of sustainable farming methods.
The Movie Shows: A School Day in the Life of Mary and Hannah
"When I wake up every morning, it's too early and most of the time I'm very tired. This makes getting up a little hard. But I look forward to seeing my friends at school." Is this sentence from Hannah from Germany or Mary from Zambia? In a moving video, both talk about their school day. Mary is 13 years old, the daughter of an African smallholder farmer who grows cotton according to sustainable CmiA standards. Recently she visits one of the newly built schools in eastern Zambia. Even if Hannah and Mary are different in many ways, their school life between the big break and math class is still similar. Watch the entire movie here.
Since 2008, Tchibo has increasingly relied on "Cotton made in Africa" cotton and is one of the world's largest buyers. With every purchase of CmiA products, the customer directly contributes to improving the living conditions of smallholder farmers and their children. About 70% of the processed cotton at Tchibo will come from responsible sources (Organic, Organic Blend, CmiA, Better Cotton Initiative i.a.) this year.
Get to know what stands behind the project and the work of CmiA - farmers, representatives of Cotton made in Africa and Tchibo explain more about it in the second film.
About Tchibo: Tchibo stands for a unique business model. Tchibo operates more than 1,000 Tchibo Shops, approx. 26,000 Depots at third-party retail outlets, and national online shops in eight countries. The company uses this multi-channel distribution system to offer coffee and the Cafissimo single-serve system, along with weekly changing non-food ranges as well as services in travel, mobile telecommunications and green energy. Tchibo and its 12,450 employees worldwide generated revenues of EUR 3.5 billion in 2013. Tchibo is the roasted coffee market leader in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland and one of the leading e-commerce companies in Europe. Its sustainable business policies have earned the family business, which was founded in Hamburg in 1949, multiple awards including the award for Corporate Ethics and the Environmental Logistics Award in 2012 as well as the Federal Government's CSR Award in 2013.
Brand and Design Company Nilorn Provides Creative Recognition for CmiA Products
To ensure a consistent, recognizable branding for Cotton made in Africa (CmiA), the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) now cooperates with the Nilorn Germany GmbH, an internationally renowned company in the fields of "Branding & Design". Among the first fruits of the new joint cooperation, CmiA and Nilorn have launched the first CmiA Augmented Reality video that enables consumers to experience CmiA directly at the product.
Nilorn is a unique global company with heritage from 1970 with expertise in adding value to brands in the world of labels, packaging, and accessories. They offer complete, creative and tailor-made concepts in the areas of branding, design, product development and logistic solutions. Our partner Nilorn provides all standard CmiA hangtags and woven labels as well as complete and creative design solutions that meet the demand of every CI of our partners. In total, Nilorn produces approximately ten million branded labels of various types and sizes each day. Nilorn offices and manufacturing bases are located in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Bangladesh, Shanghai, Hong Kong and India. For more information: http://www.nilorn.com/
8. CmiA and COMPACI Stakeholder Conference in Cologne
Making African cotton competitive and providing a sustainable basis for people and nature are the goals of Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and COMPACI (Competitive African Cotton Initiative). Over 150 experts across the textile value chain from nearly 20 countries attended this year's Stakeholder Conference from September 24--26th in Cologne. The discussions focused on issues such as tapping new markets for African cotton and thus securing income for cotton farmers as well as establishing a textile value chain in Africa.
Host of the conference opening event was DEG - Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH. Philipp Kreutz, member of the Management Board of DEG, pointed out the impressive development of Cotton made in Africa and COMPACI in his welcoming speech and stressed, "DEG is proud to have been given the opportunity as a founding member of COMPACI to support this process from the beginning." Alamine Ousmane, the acting Minster of Finance in Cameroon, emphasized the importance of cotton production for the West African country and praised CmiA for its work. Andreas Söffker, Managing Director of Gerhard Rösch GmbH was invited as additional guest speaker. A pioneer in the textile industry, the company produces textiles whose value chain can be traced back to the growing region of CmiA cotton in Africa. The fashion show by the Mozambican upcycling label "Mima-te" was met with great enthusiasm. Twin sisters Nelly and Nelsa Guambe presented for the first time their exceptional modern vintage designs made from old clothes during a fashion show in Germany. Among the unique designs were the first CmiA dresses made from old CmiA clothes.
For the first time, some manufacturers such as Ayka and Else from Ethiopia and Buetec from Cameroon took part in the meeting. They made clear that Africa is being discovered more and more by the textile industry as a production location. "The opportunity to be able to produce within a country from the cotton field to the finished garment, establish a sustainable foundation for textile production, and to discover growing sales opportunities locally makes African countries attractive to the American and European market," said Jas Bedi, Managing Director of African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF). The group of experts agreed that Cotton made in Africa can lay the foundation for a sustainable textile industry in Africa. A further developed textile industry could be a great opportunity for millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa.