We set up The Gambia Cotton Trail because we want to contribute to create opportunities, employment and vibrant communities throughout the country. We have a deep desire to create products made in The Gambia and boost sustainability and self dependence in the country.
Cotton used to be a big industry in here. In its heyday, the country was one the largest cotton producer in West Africa. Still, many farmers know the skill of cultivating cotton. And in many ethnic groups, cotton has been part of their culture and tradition through generations.
We constantly want to improve and do better! We learn and we adapt. While doing that, our standing ETHOS will also expand, to the better!
Our ethos and ethics
1. Fair trade for all stakeholders
To create opportunities and reasons for local people to stay in their villages, we have to offer a fair deal. Fair payment. Our fabric cost more than what you might find similar fabric cost elsewhere. We know everyone involved in the trail, from the farmers to ready made fabric. What you might find in the market – at a bargain – you cannot for sure know the origin of the fabric! At The Gambia cotton Trail, we are happy to share with you!
2. People, know the origin
In many ways, The Gambias Cotton Trail is the people! We have great relationship with everyone on the trail and it is important for us to have a transparent supply chain. Therefore we havre also developed the The Cotton Trail Journey together with Ethical Travel Portal. A journey where you can meet everyone involved in our cotton fabric!
It is important for us to be transparent about who is making the fabric, and our involvement. Check out the people on the trail here.
3. Locally anchored in culture and tradition
Our producers use traditional skills and combine them with new innovative technologies to adapt into trends of today and to produce efficiently.
By using skills such as farming, hand weaving, spinning etc we create employment in rural areas where work is often scarce. This is also work that locals can do at home. We aim on creating more home-based opportunities, in particular for women.
Cotton has been culture in The Gambia for generations. One example is our spinners in Njau, who really enjoy the work as it brings them back to culture. Before every big event, people used to gather and together create cotton fabric that would be used in for example a wedding. It is most definitely a product of passion and beliefs.
4. Taking care of the environment
We care about the environment and want to make sure our products are being produced as environment friendly as possible.
Our cotton is planted in the beginning of the rain season, to make most use of the rain water. Cotton is high on water consumption, but this is one way of making sure minimise usage of ground water.
The raw cotton travel by car from East of The Gambia to Njau (half way) for spinning before ending up on the coast. We transport all of the cotton in one go to avoid unnecessary transportation.
Many of our buyers are from The Gambia it self. Which means, we dont have to ship so much overseas. Keep products at home, is always better. But, we acknowledge that this might not always be the case.
All clothes are dyed using low impact dyes, free from harmful azo chemicals which are frequently used in clothing manufacture. We use natural materials where possible, avoiding plastic and toxic substances.
5. Commitment to development
We believe creating business and trade is the way forward developing a country. Too often do we see hand-outs with no commitments to the future.
How Your Impact Matters
Without pour partners this would not happened. It is important for us to create good and long lasting partnerships with our buyers. With no buyer, no product and no cotton trail.
Buying our product you support
- a local made fabric
- the people on the cotton trail, and their salaries
- creating opportunities throughout the country, and avoid people searching elsewhere because of no jobs