Cotton made in Africa is more than just a red label. The initiative stands for sustainable cotton farming and helps almost 700,000 cotton farmers in Africa and their families.


(c) Cotton made in Africa
The "Cotton made in Africa"-label stands for sustainable cotton farming.(c) Cotton made in Africa


Cotton made in Africa (CmiA)


With the CmiA standard, create better living conditions for small farmers in the cotton industry in sub-Saharan Africa.


since 2005

CmiA cultivation countries

Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Uganda

CmiA-Kleinbauern (und Familienangehörige)

695.000 (5.098.00)

Share of small farmes in Sub-Saharan Africa

about 30 percent

Trading partners



(c) Cotton made in Africa
(c) Cotton made in Africa

For over ten years, Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) has been committed to protecting the environment and improving living and working conditions for small farmers and factory workers in the sub-Saharan cotton industry. Instead of donations, the initiative activates market forces. It is supported by the Aid by Trade Foundation.


Following the motto "Helping People Help Themselves through Trade" Cotton made in Africa combines the goals of development cooperation and sustainable management. About 30 companies are currently involved in the international consumer alliance, including Otto Group, which includes OTTO and Bonprix, Tchibo, ASOS, Rewe Group, Engelbert Strauss, Dibella, Aldi Süd and Bestsellers. In 2016, about 50 million "Cotton made in Africa" textile products hit the market.


(c) Cotton made in Africa
(c) Cotton made in Africa

The international textile companies purchase sustainably produced and certified cotton, integrate them into their collections and pay royalties to the foundation. Consumers can recognize these products by the small red label.

"Cotton made in Africa" cotton royalties paid by the companies are reinvested in the farming regions: they pay for courses at "Farmer Business Schools" which teach basic business management skills to small farmers, and "Cotton Women Clubs" which give women a path to economic independence. In the courses, experts provide small and mid-sized farmers with efficient and eco-friendly cultivation methods. The deforestation of primary forests and the use of genetically modified cotton are prohibited. By dispensing with artificial irrigation in favor of other eco-friendly methods, Cotton Made in Africa cotton has a much lower ecological footprint than conventionally produced cotton: it saves around 2,000 liters of water per kilogram.


International agreements on ethical trade, such as the core standards of the International Labor Organization, are firmly entrenched in the sustainability standards of Cotton Made in Africa. Slavery, human trafficking and child labor are excluded, and participation in the program ensures fair working conditions - not only on the cotton field, but also in the cotton processing industry in Africa. The cotton companies which work directly with small local farmers are crucial for realizing goals in the project countries.



Better working conditions for factory workers

(c) Cotton made in Africa
9,000 factory workers profit from the improved working conditions. (c) Cotton made in Africa

At present, Cotton made in Africa reaches nearly 700,000 small farmers. Including their families, Cotton made in Africa reaches 5.7 million people from Ethiopia, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Uganda. In 2016, 280,000 tons of sustainably certified "Cotton made in Africa" was harvested over a cultivated area of over one million hectares. Cotton made in Africa is also working to improve working conditions for the 9,000 factory workers working in the plants where cotton is ginned.


As part of a sustainable development partnership, the initiative works together with various public and private partners and non-governmental organizations. Welthungerhilfe (World Hunger Aid), Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ; the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development), Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG; the German Investment and Development Corporation), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ; the German Society for International Cooperation) and Bill & Melinda Gates, WWF, CARE International and the NABU Foundation are all members.

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Cotton made in Africa (CmiA)

Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) that helps African smallholder cotton farmers in Africa to improve their living conditions.

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