Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


March 22nd, 2018

Today is World Water Day and Cotton made in Africa Saves About 63bn Litres! – INDUSTRY NEWS

In many parts of the world cotton is artificially irrigated. On global average, cotton uses more than 2,100 litres of water per kilogram.* Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) does it differently. CmiA is sustainable cotton from Africa that is cultivated with the exclusive use of rainwater. Through the volume of cotton traded as CmiA in 2017, approximately 63 billion litres of water have been saved – enough to supply more than one million people in Germany with water for an entire year.**

“In conventional farming cotton is sometimes watered heavily,” says Tina Stridde, Managing Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation. “This can have extreme consequences for our ecosystem and for the availability of water as a vital resource – especially in regions that are already extremely arid. Through rain-fed cultivation, Cotton made in Africa plays a significant role in protecting the environment,” continues Stridde.

In a global comparison, CmiA-certified cotton saves more than 2,100 litres of water per kilogram of cotton, since only rainwater is used in cultivation. This corresponds to about 500 litres of water per T-shirt.

In order to provide additional support for people in the CmiA cotton growing regions, Cotton made in Africa realises projects to foster the availability of clean drinking water, hygiene measures and sanitary facilities. Illness caused by contaminated drinking water is a frequent problem, as Melisiana Machibia reports. The cotton farmer from Tanzania says: “Before the borehole was built, we had to walk 4 kilometres to the nearest water station every day. During the rainy season, we only got water from contaminated water sources and often got ill.”

Many parts of the world suffer from extreme aridity. Water gets an increasingly precious good and clean drinking water is rarely available. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 30% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa does not have access to clean drinking water.

“Cotton made in Africa” (CmiA), an Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) initiative established by Dr. Michael Otto in 2005, is the largest label for sustainable cotton from Africa. Instead of giving donations, the initiative aims to help people help themselves through trade in order to improve the living conditions of hundreds of thousands of cotton farmers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa, while also protecting the environment. The certified sustainable cotton is in high demand and is made into textiles by textile companies and brands worldwide. Consumers can identify CmiA by a small dark-red label on the product, and they can help smallholder farmers and the environment with each purchase.

More information at



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One Comment

  1. Alice

    Thank-you for sharing this important initiative.

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