Nelly Bassily | February 4, 2008
This article provides an example of how farmers can get a better price for their crops by going organic. In the case of cotton, a product that is certified “organic” will fetch a much better price than the conventional variety. Cotton production that is both organic and “fair trade” ensures that producers will receive a minimum price for their product, regardless of fluctuations in the world market. But that’s not the only reason that more farmers are choosing organic cotton production. On conventional cotton plantations, pesticides often cause illness among farmers and their families. By definition, organic agriculture does not use synthetic pesticides.
You can learn more about the economic advantages of organic cotton in West Africa in the following articles (available only in French):
-Des nombreux débouchés aux États-Unis pour le coton biologique burkinabé: http://fr.allafrica.com/stories/200707180199.html
-Coton biologique en Afrique de l’Ouest, le nouvel espoir des cotoncculteurs africains: http://www.malikounda.com/nouvelle_voir.php?idNouvelle=15212
Shea is another source of income – and one that is particularly beneficial to women. Almost 400,000 Burkinabe women are involved in the production of shea butter. And, as with cotton, organic shea products are worth more than their conventional counterparts. To learn more about the process that transforms shea nuts into shea butter, see this week’s Script of the Week, Rural women process and sell shea butter, from DCFRN Package 82, Script 8, November 2007.
But shea butter is not the only product that women create from shea. For example, women from the Burkinabe association Songtaab-Yalgré have created an organic jam from the fruit that surrounds the shea nut. The women in this association also produce other shea products, including soap, creams, and pomade. To learn more about the Songtaab-Yalgré association, visit their website at: www.songtaaba.net.