MUTLU PETRA1, ANNE FLOQUET2
1GTZ, Pro Cgrn, Benin
2Cebedes NGO, Benin
Cotton has been an important source of income and capital accumulation for farmers in northern Benin during two decades. Visible signs were investments in housings, expansion of cultivated areas in cash and food crops and investments from cotton growers organisations in collective goods, school buildings and community teachers for example. Nowadays many farmers who are growing cotton draw a negative income out of it. They go on with this crop because it is the only way to have access to inputs on credit and to get some ``one shot'' cash. Negative effects of impoverishment are lack of farm investment, soil fertility depletion, dependency on child farm work, dissension among cotton growers organisations and break up of contracts among actors within the value chain.
We will present an on going experience where the incentive for reversal is coming from the last links within the value chain. A large garment firm in Germany, arguing on social responsibility, designed a public private partnership with GTZ as a public development agency, for promoting cotton that is environmentally sustainable, socially responsible and economically profitable for cotton farmers in three different African settings (Burkina Faso, Benin and Tanzania).
In Benin, about 10.000 farmers, one input dealer and one ginner agree on production standards and monitoring criteria that allow for obtaining a label CmiA and for benefiting from specific trading arrangements. Support is given in form of additional training and extension to farmers' groups engaged in the process as well as for building contractual arrangements among partners. Monitoring of progress is being partly performed by participants in the process and partly by external agencies. Each lint cotton ballot leaving the country and produced within the specific arrangement has a ``passport'' describing the conditions of its production. It is expected that training and self monitoring on one hand, reshaping of contractual arrangements for timely access to input and cotton payment will have immediate positive effects on farmers' performances.
Keywords: Benin, cotton, public private partnership, value chain