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Organic Cotton: A New Development Path for African Smallholders?

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Ferrigno, Simon; Ratter, Saro G.; Ton, Peter; Simplice Vodouhê, Davo; Williamson, Stephanie; Wilson, John
Date: 2005
Agency: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London
Series: Gatekeeper Series, no. 120
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/6191
Sector: Agriculture
Region: Africa
Subject(s): cotton
food supply
Abstract: "Drawing on case studies from Benin, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, this paper argues that organic cotton has much to offer smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Experience shows that it is technically feasible, reduces health problems, maintains soil fertility and food security and often supports higher incomes than conventional cotton. All case study projects show positive impacts and empowered, more sustainable communities. Although conventional cotton production has contributed to economies in sub-Saharan Africa, it is not cost-free. Involvement in conventional cotton depends on expensive and toxic synthetic inputs (fertilisers and pesticides) to the detriment of ecosystem and human health, undermines food security and exposes producer countries and farmers to the fluctuations of world market prices."

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