The Sub-Saharan Cotton Initiative
Your company or organization wants to contribute to sustainable cotton and textile supply chains in Sub-Saharan Africa? You want to join forces with local partners to plan and implement your project with support from GIZ? Submit your concept now for the Sub-Saharan Cotton Initiative until May 3rd, 2021.
The Sub-Saharan Cotton Initiative
Supply chains are global – a T-shirt travels around the world from the cultivation of the cotton to the final product until it reaches consumers. In the process, it creates an ecological and social footprint in production, manufacture and transport. More transparency along supply chains as well as a fairer distribution of value creation will only be achieved if internationally trading companies, global intermediaries, raw material suppliers, international standard organisations and local partners pull together.
The cotton sector from field to gin contributes to the living of more than 40 million people in Africa. Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa remains low, achieving only 50% of the global average yield. More than 90% of African cotton is exported as a raw material. The processing of cotton into textiles, and therefore most of the added value, is created elsewhere. There is a high potential to increase productivity in a sustainable manner and to strengthen local value creation with the aim to increase incomes and create jobs.
Driven by conscious consumers there is a growing demand for sustainably and, in particular, organically produced cotton. Global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic have proven once more the need for more resilient supply chains. For brands and retailers, engaging in new sourcing markets and promoting innovative and long-term solutions helps to secure the supply of sustainable cotton, including organic cotton, and to build reliable networks and functioning supply chains in partner countries. It also helps to build greater transparency for risk management and marketing.
The Global Programme “Sustainability and Value Added in Agricultural Supply Chains” is launching the Sub-Saharan Cotton Initiative to engage international and Sub-Saharan stakeholders to jointly implement their projects to make cotton and textile supply chains more sustainable.
Find more information on the Call for Proposals below.
The Sub-Saharan Cotton Initiative is run by the Global Programme "Sustainability and Value Added in Agricultural Supply Chains" (GP AgriChains) and part of the special initiative "One World No Hunger" (SEWOH). On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the programme promotes the sustainability of selected agricultural supply chains. Click Sustainability and Value Added in Agricultural Supply Chains (giz.de) for more information.
The Call for Proposals
The Sub-Saharan Cotton Initiative is a Call for Proposals for formal or informal cooperations or other consortia, whether already established or in preparation and as further specified below (hereinafter collectively “Consortia”), between
(i) one or more International Companies*,
(ii) one or more Local Entities* in Partner Countries and
(iii) optionally, one or more International Associations*.
*Please see “Who can apply” for definitions.
The aim is to make cotton supply chains in Sub-Saharan Africa more socially and environmentally sustainable and economically viable – from smallholder production to the international marketing of cotton or local processing. We invite Consortia to apply with their project concepts corresponding to the criteria below. A full proposal is not yet required!
Several winning Consortia may be selected. The winning Consortia will be responsible for the implementation of the proposed activities on the basis of (i) a cooperation agreement to be concluded between GIZ and the respective Consortium, (ii) a grant agreement to be concluded with the Local Entity/ies and/or (iii) a grant agreement to be concluded with the International Association(s).
All projects must contribute to at least one of the following thematic areas:
A. Sustainable production methods
Conventional cotton production methods are often related to unecological agricultural practices like the use of large amounts of pesticides, leading to soil depletion and reduced agro-biodiversity. How can sustainable production methods, including organic agriculture, mitigate those negative impacts and contribute to more social and economic sustainability like new job opportunities, better income and improved working conditions? Possible approaches are, for example, good agricultural practices and integrated pest management, supported by a better access to knowledge including basic entrepreneurial skills.
B. Improved seeds
Breeding and management of high-quality seed for cotton production has been neglected in the last decades. This has resulted in an urgent need for better and adapted seed for sustainable cotton production in order to increase and stabilize fibre yield. Possible approaches focus on open pollinating, non-hybrid seed applying a farmer-based breeding and seed multiplication schemes.
C. Climate change mitigation and adaptation
Climate change increasingly impacts negatively on smallholder cotton production and particularly poor rural households. How can the resilience of smallholders be strengthened in order to maintain production of cotton and to support rural livelihoods? Possible approaches are diversification, early-warning-systems and harvest insurance schemes.
D. Local processing
The increase of local value added through local processing can contribute to job creation and poverty reduction and strengthen national economies. Local processing can take place in the handicraft sector, but also through industrial manufacturing of fabrics and textiles for export. This requires cotton quality to correspond to international standards and the necessary technological, managerial and commercial knowledge at local level.
E. Digital traceability
The origin of the cotton and the conditions under which it is grown are often unclear. With upcoming legal frameworks on supply chain due diligence, traceability of sustainably produced cotton gains more and more importance. Conventional mass balance systems often do not satisfy the increasing demand for more transparency. On the other hand, physical traceability methods allow tracing cotton from the retailer to the region of origin. It is important that African smallholders can increase market shares through traceability options which meet their and the retailers’ needs.
F. Purchasing of sustainable African cotton
African cotton generally has a good quality and is already produced under relatively sustainable conditions, because of the mainly rainfed cultivation. For companies in the apparel and textile sector, African cotton holds a significant potential to achieve their sustainability goals. Improved support to supply chain linkages and market access, sourcing alliances and long-term contracts have the potential to boost African cotton internationally and to support local economies.
Project concepts must indicate in which Partner Country or Partner Countries the activities shall be implemented. We encourage implementation in several Partner Countries as well as regional approaches stretching across several Partner Countries.
Target countries must be among the BMZ Partner Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa as stipulated in the BMZ reform strategy.
All projects must contribute to at least one of the indicators listed below. Applicants shall indicate to which indicator(s) the project will contribute. Please also indicate the estimated target value(s) for the indicator(s) to which the project contributes.
(1) Farm income: Number of supported farms producing sustainable cotton whose average income has increased.
Please indicate targeted number of farms and expected income increase (in %)
(2) Employment situation: Number of people (including young adults and women) involved in sustainable cotton and textile supply chains (e.g. producers, people working in further processing or input suppliers) who confirm that their employment situation has improved.
“Improved employment situation” includes: a. Better working conditions; b. Additional jobs; c. More working hours (in case of underemployment) and/or d. Higher income.
Please indicate targeted number of people who have improved their employment situation in at least one category (a-d), including estimated percentages of young adults and women.
(3) Yields per hectare: Number of producers who have increased their yields (kg/ha) of sustainably cultivated cotton.
Please indicate targeted number of producers and estimated increase in yields (in %).
(4) Acreage: Additional hectare of arable land on which cotton is cultivated according to internationally recognised sustainability standards, sustainable cultivation methods or national recommendation frameworks.
Please indicate targeted increase in acreage (in ha).
(5) Capacity building: Number of people (including young adults and women) involved in sustainable cotton and textile supply chains (farmers, workers, entrepreneurs, etc.) whose capacities for increasing sustainability and value added have been strengthened.
Please indicate number of people, including % of young adults and women, who have benefited from increased competencies.
(6) Purchasing: Number of companies of the global supply chain (“international companies”) who increase their purchase quantity of sustainable African cotton.
Please indicate targeted number of companies that have increased their purchasing quantities as well as estimated increase in quantity (in tons).
Who can apply?
Project concepts of Consortia – or Consortia in preparation – meeting the following criteria are eligible for participating in the Call for Proposals:
- A Consortium consists of at least two Consortium partners
- At least one of the Consortium partners is an International Company
- At least one of the Consortium partners is a Local Entity
- Optionally, one or more International Associations may participate as further Consortium partners
- The Consortium does not need to be formalized via an agreement (e.g. joint venture agreement or consortium agreement)
- International Companies or International Associations may apply even if their Consortium is not yet complete (“Consortia in preparation”). An opportunity to find Consortium partners via the matching platform Leverist will be provided. Local Entities may only apply in conjunction with an International Company or International Association.
- Any commercial company, partnership or other entity established in the EU or any other country not listed in the OECD DAC List of ODA Recipients
- Active in the trade, processing and/or procurement of cotton or cotton products
- At least two audited annual financial statements available
- At least EUR 1,000,000 annual turnover
- At least eight employees
- Sufficient financial stability and liquidity to provide the necessary own contribution.
- Any company, partnership, association, cooperative, foundation, organisation, research institution or NGO
- Head office or major part of activities in one or more Partner Countries.
- Any association, organisation, partnership, cooperative, foundation, research institution or NGO active in the field of international development cooperation or having an international focus
- Head office in the EU or any other country not listed in the OECD DAC List of ODA Recipients.
Scope of activities supported
In line with the described objectives of this Call for Proposals, project concepts are expected to meet the following requirements:
- The beneficiaries of the project are cotton producing smallholder farmers and/or other stakeholders in Partner Countries working along the supply chain
- The project serves at least one of the specified thematic areas and contributes to at least one of the specified levels of impact
- The project targets beneficiaries from at least one – preferably more – of the specified Partner Countries
- The project has a duration of at least 1.5 years and a maximum of 3 years
- The total volume of the project is between 500,000 EUR and 2.5 million EUR. Large-volume projects are encouraged
- The Consortium makes an own contribution to the project. A contribution by the Consortium of 50% or more of the total volume is highly desirable and will be positively considered in the preselection (minimum contribution: 30%). This contribution can be made financially or in-kind (e.g. by assigning own personnel and other resources to the project, by realizing procurements and investments) and shall be quantified
- Each Consortium is only allowed to submit one project concept in the same constellation
- The proposed activities would not take place without the GIZ funding. The content of the project must not cover a general legal requirement that the company needs to comply with
- Activities which are already financed or supported by GIZ or other donors are not eligible for funding
- Purchases of materials and equipment can be foreseen within the project but should not exceed 30% of the total budget. At the end of the project, these purchases need to be handed over to a non-profit or public organisation. In the case of material goods that continue to be available to a private enterprise for economic use after the end of the project, only the depreciation during the contract period is eligible for reimbursement.
Depending on the proposed project concept of the Consortium, GIZ will offer the conclusion of (i) a cooperation agreement with the selected Consortium, (ii) a grant agreement with the Local Entity/ies and/or (iii) a grant agreement with the International Association(s). The International Company shall not receive any financial support or other benefit from GIZ, nor will GIZ place any order with the International Company in the context of the selected project. The maximum funding period is up to 3 years. The projects will ideally start implementation in August 2021.
Evaluation and selection
The following chapters will give you an overview of the selection criteria and the timeline.
The following criteria will be used for the preselection and the final selection respectively:
Quality of the Consortium (30%)
- For International Companies: Number and quality of reference projects
- For all Consortium members: Experience working on sustainability in cotton and textile supply chains as well as in the Sub-Saharan region
Financial contribution by the Consortium (20%)
Quality of the project concept (50%)
- Level of intended impact as well as probability of the impacts to be achieved
- Level of novelty and innovation
- Holistic approach
- Number of thematic areas addressed
- Expected sustainability of activities after the end of the project
- Potential for scaling up the project activities
- Feasibility of the project concept
- Description of risks and mitigation strategy
Process and timeline
The chart below gives you an overview of the process.
Call for Proposals:Consortia or Consortia in preparation meeting the participation criteria are encouraged to express their interest and submit a project concept through the website (see “Apply here”). A virtual Q&A session organised by the GP AgriChains will be offered on Tuesday, 13 April 2021 at 12:00 CEST to clarify any open questions. The link to the Q&A session will be posted on the website.
Preselection: A selection committee consisting of members of BMZ, GIZ as well as international cotton and textile experts from academia and practice, will shortlist up to 10 Consortia based on the selection criteria.
Project development: The preselected Consortia will then elaborate their concepts into a full project proposal. The GP AgriChains will offer an equal amount of support, e.g. on administrative requirements, to all Consortia.
Final selection: The Consortia will submit the full project proposal and present their project to the selection committee. The final decision will be taken by the selection committee based on the selection criteria. Several projects may be selected. The result shall be announced by email within one week after the presentation.
Conclusion of contract: For each selected Consortium, GIZ will offer the conclusion of (i) a cooperation agreement with the selected Consortium, (ii) a grant agreement with the Local Entity/ies and/or (iii) a grant agreement with the International Association(s).
Applicants who are interested in submitting their project concept must complete the specific form on the website (see “Apply here”) and submit it before the deadline on Monday,3 May 2021 at 23:59 CEST. All applications must be submitted in English.
- The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with headquarters in Eschborn and Bonn ("GIZ") is the organiser of the Sub-Saharan Cotton Initiative.
- Participation in this Call for Proposals does not constitute an entitlement to conclude a contract with GIZ nor to receive any financial contribution from GIZ.
- GIZ reserves the right to exclude participants who provide false or incomplete information, use unauthorized aids or who otherwise violate the conditions of participation from participating in the Sub-Saharan Cotton Initiative without giving reasons. In such a case, it is also possible that financial contribution by GIZ may be subsequently withdrawn. GIZ will ask for a statement in case of suspicion. If this remains unanswered, GIZ reserves the right to exclude the participant from the Call for Proposals.
- If a selected Consortium does not take advantage of the financial contribution, GIZ reserves the right to decide at its own discretion what to do with the financial contribution.
- GIZ reserves the right to react transparently to unforeseen circumstances by changing or cancelling the Call for Proposals, especially in the event of manipulation or if the execution of the Call for Proposals is endangered.
- Should any clause of these terms and conditions be invalid, the validity of the remaining terms and conditions shall remain unaffected.
- Recourse to the courts is not permitted.
For applying you must fill out the short online application and attach two documents (“Consortium Members” and “Project Concept”)
The Sub-Saharan Cotton Initiative is directed at formal or informal cooperations or other consortia, whether already established or in preparation between:
one or more International Companies, one or more Local Entities in Partner Countries and optionally, one or more International Associations.
Please refer to the Call for Proposals for the criteria to qualify as International Company, Local Entity and International Association and for a further specification of criteria.
International Companies or International Associations may apply even if their Consortium is not yet complete. Local Entities may only apply in conjunction with an International Company or International Association.
The beneficiaries of the project are cotton producing smallholder farmers and/or other stakeholders in Partner Countries working along the supply chain.
The project should have a duration of at least 1.5 years and a maximum of 3 years.
- The total volume of the project should be between 500,000 EUR and 2.5 million EUR. Large-volume projects are encouraged;
- The Consortium makes an own contribution to the project. A contribution by the Consortium of 50% or more of the total volume is highly desirable and will be positively considered in the preselection (minimum contribution: 30%). This contribution can be made financially or in-kind (e.g. by assigning own personnel and other resources to the project, by realizing procurements and investments) and shall be quantified.
GIZ can only support activities that would not take place without the GIZ funding. Consortia may apply with a component of an existing project, provided that the activities proposed to the Sub-Saharan Cotton Initiative are not yet financed or supported by GIZ or other donors.
Each Consortium can only submit one project concept in the same constellation. However, a company or organisation can submit different project concepts with different partners, i.e. a different Consortium.
Depending on the proposed project concept of the Consortium, GIZ will offer the conclusion of (i) a cooperation agreement with the selected Consortium, (ii) a grant agreement with the Local Entity/ies and/or (iii) a grant agreement with the International Association(s).
The selection will be made based on:
- Quality of the Consortium (30%)
- Financial contribution by the Consortium (20%)
- Quality of the project concept (50%)
Please refer to the Call for Proposals (“Selection criteria”) for more information.