Organic cotton may be a sustainable solution to alleviate farmers extremely poverty in Togo. The rate of poverty among farmers is 63% in Togo, which constitutes a serious poverty for the development of the country. In this country, Togo, more than 200,000 people are occupied in the cotton sector. Cotton is the largest source of export receipts. Cotton in Togo is primarily grown in the North of country on farms with an average land area of 1 hectare. The farmgate price of cotton in Togo are decreasing since several year and dropped further from 175 fCFA/kg of cotton seed to 160 FCFA. As a result of price decreases and reduced production volumes, the earnings of cotton growers in Togo decreased by 60% between 2001/2002 and 2002/2003.
The project aims to promote organic cotton growing in Togo. Organic cotton may significantly increase the farmers’ income. For organic cotton, the farmers receive a premium of 20% on actual cotton prices. Yields per hectare may only be lower during a limited conversion period which is 3 years. With this method, no pesticides or fertilizers are required, thus saving expenses. Reduction of the use of pesticides will have an important positive side-effect on the health and environment pollution situation. The toxic pesticides for cotton are sometimes used on food crops and food or drink contamination happens regularly.
Institutional building for farmers
280 farmers with a total cotton growing area of 125 ha signed a production contract with the project for organic cotton production in spring 2005 (231 men, 49 women; out of them 31 pioneers from 2004)
40 farmer groups among producing farmers were built. The farmer groups express joint responsibility for seeds purchase and distribution as for paying back credits.
Seven work-groups for the organic farmers association were built and 4 planning meetings in plenum were conducted.
Training of farmers organizations on project management and financial mechanism