Evaluation of the 2009 reform of the cotton sector in Benin: perspectives from the field

C.E. Togbé, S.D. Vodouhê, G. Gbèhounou, R. Haagsma, E.T. Zannou, A. Guédénon, D.K. Kossou, A. van Huis

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Abstract

The immediate consequences of the 2009 reform of the cotton sector in Benin are assessed from the farmers' perspective. Using a policy arrangements approach, we analyse how farmers experienced the transformations brought about by the reform and how it influenced their day-to-day activities. The new farmer cooperatives established after the reform were trusted by farmers. Many farmers returned to the sector, increasing cotton output. Nevertheless, productivity remained low, around 900 kg/ha, probably because the reform addressed mainly institutional constraints. Technical constraints relating to varietal choice, soil fertility improvement, and pest management were neglected. The policy arrangements emerging from the reform still generate discussion, in particular about the way actors and coalitions are organized. The top-down approach of the reform process has limitations for problem-solving, especially where actors' interests collide. The adjustments made under the reform with regard to farmer-based organizations and actors from public services, the caution solidaire, and farmers' supervision proved inappropriate for solving the institutional problems posed at the nodes of actors and coalitions, resources, discourses, and institutions, thereby further undermining the cotton sector. A mix of technological and institutional reforms might offer a more effective option for the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-295
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Keywords

  • political modernization
  • innovation

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