For the first time, Fairtrade has certified African cotton farmers outside of West Africa. Acholi Joint Farmers' Association gathers 4,000 farmers in northern Uganda, a region that has suffered greatly by decades of war and political instability.
Many farmers are looking for means to rebuild their lives again.
One of the drivers for change has been the Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC).
The sole commercial cotton ginnery in the district provides Acholi farmers and other producers in the area with much-needed access to international markets.
GADC also empowers the smallholder farmers by providing them with support, training, and agricultural inputs. With the help from the Acumen Fund, an NGO which uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of poverty, GADC assisted Acholi farmers to comply with Fairtrade standards.
Fairtrade Africa is the independent non-profit umbrella organisation representing all Fairtrade certified producers in Africa.
Established in 2005, Fairtrade Africa is a member of Fairtrade International (FLO) which unites three producer networks (Fairtrade Africa; CLAC – Latin America and the Caribbean; and NAP – Asia) and 21 labelling initiatives across Europe, Japan, North America, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.