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September 11th, 2013

Aid by Trade Foundation and BCI Sign Cooperation Agreement – TEXTILES

Representatives from the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) and Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) signed a long-term cooperation agreement in Paris today. By signing this agreement, both organizations underscore their goal to continue to improve the living conditions of smallholder farmers in developing regions through sustainable cotton production.

After a thorough benchmarking process between Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and the Better Cotton Standards, CmiA cotton will continue to be sold as Better Cotton to BCI members. The resources generated through this joint effort will be invested in improving the livelihoods of a large number of African smallholder farmers.

Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) that provides assistance in helping people help themselves through trade, to improve the living conditions of cotton farmers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The initiatives are pursuing several goals with this new CmiA and BCI cooperation: On the one hand, the aim is to increase the sale of sustainable African cotton on the world market along with the economic and environmental sustainability of smallholder farmers. On the other hand, the aim of the partnership is also to improve the living conditions of the cotton farmers and their families. The initiatives intend to work more closely together and develop common solutions especially for issues such as child labor, integrated pest management, and in system optimization between cotton supply and demand.

“Thanks to the close collaboration between Aid by Trade Foundation and BCI, participating smallholder farmers benefit through better market access and assistance and the textile industry benefits through better availability of sustainably produced cotton,” says Christoph Kaut, Managing Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation.

The Aid by Trade Foundation and BCI will also work together to promote the continuous development of standards for sustainable cotton production. Patrick Laine, Chief Executive Officer at BCI expands: “With this partnership our respective members can benefit from the activities of both initiatives, improving access to the supply of sustainably produced cotton, and taking one step closer to sustainable cotton becoming a mainstream commodity.”

This cooperation agreement will now extend the interim partnership already in existence since July 2012 on a permanent basis.

Last year approximately 475,000 smallholder farmers in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and the Ivory Coast participated in the CmiA program. Through training programs, Cotton made in Africa teaches the cotton farmers about modern, efficient, and environmentally friendly cultivation methods that will help them improve the quality of their cotton, yield higher crops, and thus earn a better income.

Better Cotton Initiative

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) was founded in 2009 to develop global systems and standards for Better Cotton. BCI is a not-for-profit membership organisation which exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future. Our aim is to transform global cotton production by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.

BCI members commit to meeting a set of minimum requirements for growing, manufacturing, supplying and selling Better Cotton, including pesticide use, water conservation, habitat protection, fibre quality and decent work principles. In 2013, farmers in five countries received training and produced Better Cotton – Brazil, China, India, Mali, and Pakistan – with harvests in Tajikistan and Turkey to follow in 2014. The aim is that by 2015, Better Cotton farmers will be producing over 1 million metric tonnes of Better Cotton.

www.bettercotton.org

www.cottonmadeinafrica.org/presse







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