Our work with cotton farmers in Benin convinced the government to ban the use of the highly hazardous pesticide (HHP), endosulfan.
We support almost 4000 farmers in growing organic cotton and have helped these farmers to establish cotton co-operatives and to engage in local and national cotton forums.
All organic cotton is sold to the Beninese government with a guaranteed premium (currently 20%).
Of the participating farmers, 40% are women, which is four times the number in conventional cotton farming in the region.
Women are supported to develop other means of income. They use new milling equipment to grind neem seeds to make and sell biopesticides. They also use the mills for grinding maize, which is a time-consuming and laborious job to do by hand. We hope that the time saved will allow girls more time to go to school. Extra income from the mills is paying for extra teachers, increasing the school’s capacity.
We have worked with farmers to develop a food spray, made from local, low-cost ingredients which they can use to encourage beneficial insects into their cotton fields, helping to keep pest numbers in balance and avoiding the use of pesticides.
This project is funded by TRAID, a UK registered charity working to tackle the environmental and social impacts of producing, consuming and using clothes, and the Big Lottery Fund.