AbTF is publishing the ninth edition of its annual aggregated verification report. This report represents AbTF’s continued commitment to transparency in 2019 and informs the interested public about cotton companies’ compliance with the CmiA Standard, says a press release.
During the course of 2019, the number of CmiA-verified partners rose to 24 cotton companies, and CmiA-verified cotton is now being cultivated in eleven countries in SubSaharan Africa. Trained in the CmiA Standard, the independently operating audit companies Africert and EcoCert verified compliance with CmiA exclusion and sustainability criteria.
Due to the local security situation, verifications for two partners had to be canceled for the second time in a row, meaning that their partner status had to be suspended as well. Because regular verifications are crucial to the CmiA Standard, these partners can only be readmitted into the program once verifications can be conducted again. CmiA verifications focus on cotton cultivation in the field and on the work done in ginneries.
Field-level verifications in 2019 painted a predominantly positive picture. All cotton companies received the best rating possible regarding payments made to farmers for their cotton, but there remains room for improvement in terms of health and plant protection. At the ginnery level, high ratings were dominant across the board.
Almost all ginneries audited in 2019 were found to fully satisfy statutory health and safety regulations as well as applicable corporate requirements. All employees were paid on time and in proportion to the amount of work they completed.
However, to meet the highest standards, CmiA is requiring most of the cotton companies to further improve occupational health and safety protections. All cotton companies now have environmental management plans, which they are largely implementing successfully. This benefits cotton producers, laborers, and the environment.
In the season of 2018 to 2019, around 900,000 CmiA cotton producers cultivated some 1.6 million hectares of cotton. They produced a total of 1.4 million tons of raw cotton, which were then delivered to 60 CmiA-verified ginneries in all. For their part, the cotton companies employed some 1,300 permanents and over 8,300 seasonal workers, producing a total of approximately 593,000 million tons of cotton lint.
Training for farmers is key to the successful implementation of the CmiA Standard at the field level and therefore crucial for sustainable development. The core training curriculum addresses all three aspects of sustainability: the economy, the environment, and social issues. In the 2018–2019 season, training sessions offered by CmiA-verified partners and 1,878,000 participants attended.
About 17 percent of the participants were women; this closely corresponds to the overall gender balance among CmiA cotton farmers, where this ratio stands at 18 percent.