Sustainable Cotton Grows in Africa

A recent study conducted on behalf of the Aid by Trade Foundation has assessed the ecological footprint of the Cotton made in Africa Initiative as being considerably smaller than cotton grown elsewhere in the world.

Less than 2 kilograms of greenhouse gases are released per kilogram of by cotton made in Africa lint, according to the study, compared with conventional cottons that can emit as much as 4.6 kilogram per kilogram of cotton lint. And the CmiA production causes no emissions from mechanical equipment versus conventionally grown cotton, which emits an average of 34 percent of emission from mechanical energy. Greenhouse gas emissions from CmiA were reduced by 70 percent and saved 18,000 liters of water per kilogram of cotton lint compared to conventional crops grown in Pakistan.

Conventional cotton is one of the crops most heavily sprayed with pesticides. In the U.S. genetically modified cotton makes up more than 80 percent of all cotton grown. India has also been inundated with GMO cotton—which has led to hundreds of thousands of farmer suicides as a result of poor crop yield and resulting inabilities to pay companies like Monsanto for royalties owed over use of its patented seeds.

The CmiA Initiative, which receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as government partners, works throughout African to help farmers achieve sustainable income. According to the initiative’s website, “it does not send donations to Africa; it works to establish stable demand in the world market for sustainably grown cotton.” The Aid by Trade Foundation works to build a network with clothing retailers around the world to buy the CmiA product at a market price, but also pay a licensing fee to the Foundation for use of the CmiA label.

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Image: kimberlykv