Value creation and consumer power in the African cotton sector
During the 1st edition of the International Show of Cotton and Textile (SICOT) from September 27 to 29, 2018 in Koudougou, Burkina Faso, Mr. Jan Sass, Managing Director of Cotton Expert House Africa, discussed the need for economic clusters to improve value creation in Africa and the importance of consumer awareness in driving market changes. The interview was conducted by Textile Exchange, a global non-profit organisation which aims to accelerate sustainable practices in the textile value chain.
Please click here to see the full interview.
2nd Pan-African Cotton Conference,
1-2 November 2018 in Kampala, Uganda
The second Pan-African Cotton Conference organised by the Cotton Expert House Africa (CHA) in cooperation with the Cotton Development Organisation (CDO) of Uganda was held in Kampala, Uganda at the Sheraton Hotel from the 1st to the 2nd of November 2018. The field-to-fashion producer Fine Spinners Uganda Ltd. and the Western Uganda Cotton Company (WUCC) also played an important role in the successful organisation of the conference. The two-day conference was preceeded by a welcome gala dinner on the 31st of October 2018 and complemented by an excursion to Fine Spinners Uganda Ltd. on the 3rd of November 2018. The objectives of the conference were to provide a platform for stakeholders in the African cotton sector to network, share information and experience with sustainable cotton production, and identify collaboration opportunities via the Cotton Expert House Africa. The conference facilitated classical expertise presentations, panel discussions and thematic group work sessions. Contributions covered current approaches and on-going developments in the regions of East and Southern Africa and West and Central Africa more generally, with specific insights provided by the host country of Uganda. The conference attracted a total of 155 delegates drawn from 20 different countries. International entities present at the conference included: German Development Cooperation (the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Tanzania Gatsby Trust (TGT). Standard-setting organisations played an active role at the conference and were represented by the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) and Fairtrade Africa. Pan-African organisations, including the African Cotton and Textile Industry Federation (ACTIF) and the Africa Cotton Association (ACA) were represented. Delegates comprised representatives from cotton farmers organisations, cotton companies, ginners and cotton exporters associations, cotton research institutions and government agencies.
All presentations from the conference days are available in English and French through the knowledge management platform of the Cotton Expert House Africa: Knowledge management platform.
CHA at the ITMF Conference and Origin Africa in Nairobi
For the first time, this year’s conference of the International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF) was held in Nairobi/Kenya (September 6th-9th, 2018). The conference brought together top global textile and apparel manufacturers from across the world and offered an opportunity for the CHA team, represented by Dr. Gudrun Krause (Operations Manager) and Tom Apina (East & Southern Africa Regional Manager) to network with industry players and learn about the modern technological development in the textile and apparel sector. The conference was hosted in conjunction with the Origin Africa textile trade fair, organized by the Africa Cotton and Textile Industry Federation (ACTIF) (September 4th-5th, 2018). At this event, the Cotton Expert House Africa was part of the many exhibitors drawn from different parts of the world.
Interesting presentations from the ITMF conference can be found here.
Networking at the BCI conference in Brussels
The conference of the Better Cotton Initiative in Brussels on June 27th-28th presented an excellent opportunity for the Cotton Expert House Africa to network with stakeholders form the international cotton and textile industry. The agenda was rich with interesting presentations from the field, from well-known retailers and brands, and insights from research and civil society organisations. Particularly interesting for the work of the Cotton Expert House Africa was the launch of the CottonUp Guide, developed by the Forum for the Future and the C&A Foundation, that shall equip retailers and brands with information to increase their sourcing volumes for more sustainable cotton.
CHA facilitates discussion round on physical cotton traceability
On June 15th, 2018, the Cotton Expert House Africa organised a discussion meeting on physical traceability of cotton along the international chain of custody in Hamburg, Germany. Experts from the Witte Gruppe, a German industry leader for secure marking and labelling, and from Tailorlux, a German provider of industrial marking solutions for materials and products, presented their solutions on how to improve physical traceability for cotton. Certi Trust, developed by Witte Gruppe, is a digital security feature for serialization and authentication of products. IntegriTex, developed by Tailorlux is a marker „fingerprint“ that is either applied as coating, additional cellulosis fibre or PET fibre and is invisible and non-toxic. With IntegriTex „readers“ along the chain of custody it is possible to track the physical journey of the cotton fibre along the chain of custody and save information on the origin of the raw material and the production conditions. This will allow sustainability standards and textile companies to ensure the hard identity of the materials used. In a lively discussion with participants from the Otto Group, bonprix, and the Aid by Trade Foundation/Cotton made in Africa, the industry stakeholders were able to provide feedback on this technology innovation and inform themselves about recent developments. Tailorlux will also present the IntegriTex technology at the BCI conference in Brussels on June 27th-28th.
BMZ launches co-financing programme with the Cotton Expert House Africa
During the International Green Week on January 24, 2018 in Berlin, Mr. Gerd Müller, acting German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, officially launched the collaboration between the BMZ and the Cotton Expert House Africa to support sustainable cotton production in Africa. In a joint discussion with Mr. Jan Sass, Managing Director of the Cotton Expert House Africa, and Ms. Tina Stridde, Managing Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation, they discussed the importance of sustainable cotton production for protecting the environment and the people and for increasing smallholder farmers’ income and development opportunities.
The German Ministry’s press release can be found here (German).
CHA, GIZ and BMZ kick off their Programme Steering Group
Following the signature of the grant agreement for the Sustainable Agricultural Value Chains and Standards programme between GIZ/BMZ and the Cotton Expert House on November 20, 2017 the Programme Steering Group of GIZ, BMZ and CHA met for the first time in Hamburg on January 15, 2018. This group will come together three times a year to discuss the planning and implementation of co-financing projects with African cotton companies and exchange in thematic exchange. We look forward to further fruitful discussions in this forum.
Cotton Expert House Africa holds its 1st Advisory Board meeting
On January 12, 2018, the Advisory Board of the Cotton Expert House Africa met for the first time in Hamburg. Present participants included Ms. Tina Stridde from the Aid by Trade Foundation, Mr. Emmanuel Mukua, representing ACTIF, Mr. René Silue CEO of CIDT Côte d’Ivoire as the elected member for the West African cotton sector, Mr. Hans-Christoph Schaefer-Kehnert from GFA Consulting Group GmbH and the head quarter team of the Cotton Expert House Africa. During this first meeting, the modus operandi of the Advisory Board was discussed and the annual work plan and budget approved. The Advisory Board looks forward to extending the group of members by a representative from an Africa cotton farmer group and another sustainability standard in the year to come and hopes to welcome Mr. Munir Zaveri, CEO of Alliance Zambia, as the elected member for the Eastern and Southern region and Mr. Andreas Pletziger of BMZ.