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Tropentag, October 5 - 7, 2004 in Berlin

"Rural Poverty Reduction
through Research for Development and Transformation"

Adoption of Organic Cotton in Benin: Does Gender Play a Role?

Dansinou Silvere Tovignan, Ernst-August Nuppenau

Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Institute of Agricultural Policy and Market Research, Germany


Benin, the number 12 in world cotton exports (2002), relies heavily on this crop for its export revenue (64 %). More than 90% of pesticides imported in the country are used on cotton crop. The adverse environmental, health and economic problems conduced to the introduction of organic cotton as alternative to make more sustainable the cotton production in the country.

Since 1996, organic cotton production is gaining importance despite its labour intensity and though yields are around 0.5 ton compared to 1 ton in the conventional sector. In addition, it became attractive for women. They are directly engaged in organic cotton production by getting their own field, a situation which is not common in conventional cotton.

This study aims at clarifying various factors that determine the adoption of organic cotton and the role of the gender in this process. Data for this study were collected from 200 households (50% conventional and 50% organic) in central Benin where there are more than 60% of area grown with organic cotton in the country. Gender is defined, not in terms of women or men, rather as the weight of women contribution to household labour and income.

The results show that the main reasons of adoption are based on desire for stable income, lack of transparency in the conventional sector and health. Only 1% of respondents adopt because of environmental reasons. On the side of non-adopter, the low yield and the lack of information are the main reasons. Contrary to what one would expert, only 8,8% of respondents do not adopt because of labour intensity.

Econometric models revel that the adoption of organic cotton by the households is determined by a range of socio-economic factors among which gender, as defined, is very significant.

Keywords: Benin, Gender, adoption, organic cotton

Contact Address: Dansinou Silvere Tovignan, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Institute of Agricultural Policy and Market Research, 35394 Gießen, Germany, e-mail: Dansinou.S.Tovignan@agrar.uni-giessen.de

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