© Paul Hahn/Aid by Trade Foundation

Introducing good cotton!

The Aid by Trade Foundation is behind the CmiA project (Cotton made in Africa), which aims to develop the production of sustainable cotton.

Did you know that traditional cotton production is one of the most polluting practices in the world? 24% of the pesticides used worldwide for only 2.4% of the farmland; up to 29,000 liters of water per kilogram harvested; up to 30 chemical treatments per year*, in particular for bleaching... Suffice to say that given these numbers, the need to grow cotton that is less harmful to the environment hits you straight in the eye.

Gentle on your skin and gentle on the world

Grown in 22 countries* (mainly India, Turkey, the US and China), organic cotton is guaranteed both pesticide-free and GMO-free, and requires less water than conventional cotton. The problem is that producing it – and so buying it - is expensive. The Aid by Trade Foundation therefore decided to promote a new more sustainable form of cotton production in countries where the cotton sector is crucial to the national economy. Direction Africa, where many small family farms have been benefiting from an unusual form of development assistance since the project was launched in 2012.


*Sources: Cotton Guide of International market, and New organic World.

Although not strictly speaking organic, sustainable cotton is grown using modern methods, uses fewer pesticides and more rainwater – it is based on the principles of optimizing resources and creating short circuits that are taught on-site by the Foundation’s partners.

A virtuous circle

In addition to helping to protect the environment, growing sustainable cotton also improves yields. Thanks to the more equitable partnership established by the CmiA with global textile enterprises growers are able to align their prices with those on the international market and increase their income. And because we can’t stop progress, the system also means the children to go to school instead of cultivating the fields. CmiA or in other words… when sustainability makes complete sense.

Main picture: © Paul Hahn/Aid by Trade Foundation

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