Organic Cotton Experiments in Northern Benin
Apr 18, 2019
The environmental effects of cotton production in West Africa put the long-term sustainability of entire cotton-based agricultural systems at risk. Policies aimed at cost reduction and improved efficiency of the cotton sector to stabilize export income should encompass the cryptic environmental costs of production. Solutions to problems of soil fertility decline and pesticide contamination should be based on an analysis of the process of cotton cultivation, rather than on symptom solving. Research should take a ‘gendered farming systems’ approach and be designed to enhance participatory technology development. Organic cotton production experiments in Northern Benin focus on the use of locally available inputs as substitutes for synthetic products. Organic manure to replace fertilizers and neem seed for insect control minimizes financial risk and overcomes problems of synthetic inputs. Higher labour demand can be satisfied during less labour demanding periods in other farm activities. This paper addresses issue of organic cotton as a substitute for traditional cotton production to ensure sustainability for the future.