Crop Diversification for Improved Livelihoods of Organic Cotton Growers in India
Eva Goldmann, Amritbir Riar, Tanay Joshi
Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FIBL), Dept. of International Cooperation, Switzerland
India is the biggest producer of organic cotton, most of it produced by smallholder farmers who sell it as a cash crop for in-season income generation. For these smallholder farmers, organic cotton-based farming systems need to be economically viable. Diversification is one option that is often proposed as a means to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. It holds great potential to increase and diversify their income and mitigate economic risks. Diversifying the farming system can be achieved through optimising crop rotation, including intercrops and accompanying crops and using green manure, among others. Compared to monocultures, these practices bear agronomical and environmental benefits - such as increased productivity, additional lever in pest management, and fostering biodiversity.
Keywords: Cotton, crop diversification, India, livelihood, organic agriculture, smallholder farmers
Contact Address: Eva Goldmann, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FIBL), Dept. of International Cooperation, Ackerstrasse 113 Box 219, 5070 Frick, Switzerland, e-mail: eva.goldmannfibl.org