Some 20 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa live from cotton-growing. Despite the good quality of the cotton, these small farmers are beset by problems of low international prices, delayed payments and lack of productivity. In addition to, the incorrect use of agricultural chemicals frequently endangers their health. The "Cotton made in Africa" alliance, set up in 2005 at the initiative of the Otto Group, aims at ensuring permanent availability of high-quality African cotton, securing small farmers' incomes and improving productivity and health protection. An alliance of textile traders meanwhile is promoting the introduction of minimum social and ecological standards in cotton production. Besides the Otto Group, a broad range of textile companies, DEG, GIZ (former GTZ), Deutsche Welthungerhilfe, the WWF and African cotton producers are involved. DEG supports the initiative with co-financing and its experience in investing in cotton-growing and processing. As a result, Burkina Faso and Zambia are set to become the stage for pilot projects by DEG partner companies in introducing minimum standards.