Besides impacting global ecosystems, climate change also compounds problems for small farmers across the world. To help them, Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) teamed up with Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) aiming to improve their working and living conditions, and protect the environment. The mandate to assess results of this study was given to Syspons, an independent consulting firm. The results confirm CmiA’s ability to improve the lives of small farmers and their families, particularly through various training programs.
Elevating farmer’s lifestyles
The training programs conducted by Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) are designed to elevate the standard of lives of participating cotton farmers. They help farmers increase their cotton yield besides causing positive cultural shifts in the village communities. The organization’s verification process also improves the working conditions and management abilities of cotton companies. This enables companies to tackle other issues like children’s rights, gender equality, and workplace safety.
Favorable market conditions enable CmiA’s verification process to achieve 100 per cent accuracy. The industry’s structure, combined with a stable cotton price set at the national level, assures farmers of regular income and future stability. Farmers also benefit from CmiA’s steady knowledge transfers and skill development program. This raises their productivity, improves income security and income levels.
A threat to profitability
Climate change proves a major challenge for Africa’s small farmers as it faces erratic monsoon. It leads to a decline in farm lands and encourages farmers to decrease biodiversity and increase pest infestations.
Their profitability also declines. Till date, AbTF has not been able to fully realize CmiA’s full potential in Zambia. However, the organization has been able to establish training mechanisms to reduce the harmful effects caused by the unfavorable external factors, thereby slowing further deterioration. Cotton made in Africa aims to improve the living conditions of farmers and strengthen their resilience to external factors through its training program Its trade partner Aid by Trade Foundation aims boost investments in climate-smart agricultural practices in order to secure finances for such forward-looking projects, says Tina Stridde, Managing Director.
CmiA’s study highlights the key insights of AbTF on ground situation. Conducted between October 2019 and June 2021 by Syspons, a well-regarded consulting company, the study verifies the effects of the CmiA’s training program on farmers’ living conditions. It presents two comprehensive case studies conducted in Zambia and Côte d’Ivoire. The case studies include household surveys of cotton farmers, focus-group discussions with village communities, and qualitative interviews with industry experts. They also analyze all relevant documents and data, including the cotton associations’ self-assessments and verification reports, previously conducted sample-based surveys, and a baseline study from 2010.
Founded by Dr Michael Otto in 2005, The Cotton made in Africa initiative was established as an internationally recognized standard for sustainably produced cotton from Africa by the Hamburg-based Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF). The initiative connects African small-scale farmers with trading companies and fashion brands throughout the global textile value chain. It aims to help around one million cotton farmers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa become self-reliant besides protecting the environment. The program includes training facilities for farmers and better working conditions, and facilities to educate their children. Female small-scale farmers are encouraged to pursue professional and social independence.