A cotton improvement programme based on participatory plant breeding methods employed for food crops has been implemented in Benin for ht e last two years. It aims at reinforcing the relationship between farmers and research, regionalising cotton breeding thanks to active collaboration with grower associations. Hopefully, farmers will also develop skills in seed production. First results confirm the variability in a breeding population created in 1996 by intercrossing fourteen genotypes, representing a wide range of variability. The interest shown by breeder-farmers looks intact with willingness to continue with this partnership. In order to ensure that it will endure, contracts with farmers are being considered.