Sub-Saharan Africa is the fifth largest cotton exporter worldwide. Cotton is grown there by about 3.4 million smallholder farmers. A total of more than 20 million people in the region are directly or indirectly living from cotton. Cotton thus plays a key role in fighting poverty and makes a major contribution to food security in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa. So far, African smallholder farmers have not been fully able to use this potential to improve their economic living conditions, as they are faced with many challenges such as fluctuating world market prices, low productivity, and poor infrastructure. 

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Cotton made in Africa: Helping People Help Themselves Improve the Living Conditions of African Smallholder Farmers

Against this background, the Cotton made in Africa initiative has set itself the goal since 2005 to sustainably improve the living conditions of cotton farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our commitment is thus not based on donations, but rather, on the principle of helping people to help themselves through trade: African smallholders learn about efficient and environmentally friendly cultivation methods through agricultural training provided by our experts. At the same time, we establish an international alliance of textile companies which purchase the Cotton made in Africa raw material and pay a licensing fee to use the seal. The proceeds from licensing fees, in following with the workings of a social business, are reinvested in the project regions of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Our actions are derived from the following sustainability goals deemed to be of higher importance:

  • People – social equality for smallholder farmers in Africa
  • Planet – protect the environment
  • Profit - higher yields and incomes for cotton farmers and their families
They form the guidelines and, at the same, the core elements of CmiA standards and are reviewed on a regular basis. Sustainable development cooperation can only be ensured in our view when all three components are considered equally. Only then will the living conditions of African smallholder farmers improve in the long term.

The Winners: Everyone Involved

The partners of the Demand Alliance obtain cotton produced under socially and environmentally improved conditions, without having to pay a significantly higher price. Thanks to the training they receive, the African smallholders are put in a position to use specific farming methods that increase yields and the quality of the cotton, and at the same time, preserve their health and the environment. These measures help improve the income of farmers and their families. In addition, the farmers and their families benefit from the cooperation projects such as improving school infrastructures. Get to know more..

A Strong Network

In order to successfully implement our objectives, the interactive relationship between private companies in the textile industry and cotton trade on the one hand and public sponsors on the other hand, forms the basis of our work. Within the framework of the Cotton Expert House Africa (CHA) the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) and the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) come together as cooperating partners. The CHA was founded in 2016 as the successor body of the Competitive African Cotton Initiative (COMPACI), which had been established in 2005 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and brought together the three bodies DEG, AbTF and GIZ as close cooperation partners. Up until its termination in 2017, the COMPACI program supported 800.000 smallholder farmers, 22 cotton companies, sector groups and research institutes in 12 countries in Subsaharan Africa concerning the development of a sustainable cotton production according to the CmiA standard. As non-profit organisation, the Cotton Expert House Africa continues to foster sustainability along the entire value chain, from cotton cultivation to textile production in Africa. In addition, non-governmental organizations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Welthungerhilfe (Welthungerhilfe) were involved in the development of standards criteria from the outset. Get to know our network here.

Improving the Living Conditions of African Smallholder Farmers with Cotton made in Africa

Through agricultural training, Cotton made in Africa provides cotton farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa with improved and sustainable farming methods that comply with CmiA standards. The Cotton Expert House Africa (CHA), a cooperation partner of CmiA, is responsible for offering training in these methods. The knowledge farmers receive not only protects people and nature, most importantly, it also helps them  generate higher yields and incomes. Beyond this, we support smallholder farmers and their families through various cooperation projects, for example, in the fields of education and the advancement of women.

CmiA on the Market: Cotton made in Africa offers Cotton with Social and Environmental Added Value at Market Prices

For more and more companies, responsibility for people and the environment play an important role in their business activities. But how can sustainability and profitability be harmonized? Cotton made in Africa relies on entrepreneurial assistance to help people help themselves and support partners in integrating sustainable CmiA cotton into their value chain.

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Aid by Trade Foundation

Cotton made in Africa
Gurlittstraße 14
20099 Hamburg

Tel.: +49 (0)40 - 2576 - 755 - 0

Fax: +49 (0)40 - 2576 - 755 - 11


Coordinator CmiA Quality Assurance for West and Central Africa 

Younoussa Imorou Ali
Mobil: +229 97 29 34 96 / 94 15 67 67
Skype : yimorouali


Bangladesh: CmiA Registration of Spinning and Fabric Mills

Mahbub Khan
Mobile: +88 (0)171 - 312 - 2417