Organic farming for sustainable livelihoods in developing countries? - The case of cotton in India

Organic farming for sustainable livelihoods in developing countries? - The case of cotton in India

by: Frank Eyhorn

vdf Hochschulverlag AG, 2007

ISBN: 9783728131522 , 224 Pages

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Organic farming for sustainable livelihoods in developing countries? - The case of cotton in India


 

Contents

4

Preface

8

Glossary

10

Abbreviations and symbols

13

Acknowledgements

14

Executive summary

16

1 Is organic farming a viable option for developing countries?

20

1.1 Organic farming in developing countries

20

1.1.1 Challenges for farmers in developing countries

20

1.1.2 Possible options to approach the challenges

22

1.1.3 The concept and the potential of organic farming

22

1.2 The case of cotton

24

1.2.1 The importance of cotton

25

1.2.2 Problems in conventional cotton farming

26

1.2.3 Genetically modified cotton

28

1.2.4 Is organic cotton farming an alternative?

29

1.3 The case study and the research region

32

1.3.1 The Maikaal bioRe organic cotton initiative

33

1.3.2 The research region

34

1.3.3 Organic and conventional cotton cultivation

36

1.4 Research objectives and questions

38

2 Conceptualizing rural livelihoods

40

2.1 In search of a conceptual approach

40

2.1.1 Livelihoods in transition

40

2.1.2 How livelihood approaches developed

43

2.1.3 Why does it matter how to approach livelihood?

44

2.2 Strengths and shortcomings of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach

45

2.2.1 Insights gained through the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach

45

2.2.2 Livelihoods are more than assets

47

2.2.3 Beyond utility maximisation

48

2.3 Re-thinking livelihood approaches

50

2.3.1 Inner and outer reality of rural livelihoods

50

2.3.2 How do livelihood strategies develop?

53

2.4 A new synthesis

56

2.4.1 Suggesting a refined livelihood framework

56

2.4.2 Application of the framework in the research project

59

3 Research approach and methods

60

3.1 The research approach

60

3.1.1 Quantitative and qualitative research

60

3.1.2 Study parts

61

3.2 Methodology of the system comparison

62

3.2.1 Approach and hypotheses of the system comparison

62

3.2.2 Data collection

65

3.2.3 Farm sample selection

69

3.2.4 Soil sampling and analysis

70

3.2.5 Data processing

72

3.3 Methodology of the adoption analysis

73

3.3.1 Approach of the adoption analysis

73

3.3.2 Exploratory interviews

76

3.3.3 Controversial statement analysis

76

3.3.4 Group discussion based on video screening

77

3.3.5 Observation protocols

77

3.3.6 Research feedback

77

3.3.7 Interviews on changes in the livelihood system

78

3.3.8 Comparison with other organic cotton initiatives

78

4 The impact of organic farming

80

4.1 Differences in cultivation practices

80

4.1.1 Cropping patterns

80

4.1.2 Manure and fertilizer input in cotton cultivation

83

4.1.3 Irrigation in cotton cultivation

84

4.1.4 Labour input in cotton cultivation

86

4.2 Impact on soil fertility

88

4.2.1 Texture, water retention and organic matter

89

4.2.2 Soil nutrients, salinity and pH

92

4.3 Differences in productivity

95

4.3.1 Impact on cotton yields

95

4.3.2 Productivity of rotation crops

101

4.3.3 Possible ways for improving the productivity

103

4.4 The economic impact of organic farming

104

4.4.1 Production costs in organic cotton

104

4.4.2 Profitability of organic cotton cultivation

106

4.4.3 Economic performance of the farm

109

4.5 Summary: The impact of organic farming

114

5 Understanding the adoption of organic farming from a livelihood perspective

118

5.1 Decision-making in the core of livelihoods

118

5.1.1 Socio-economic profiles of adopters and non-adopters

119

5.1.2 Perceptions and attitudes of cotton farmers

124

5.2 The role of the livelihood context in decision-making

128

5.2.1 The role of the risk and opportunity context

128

5.2.2 Relation to the context of policies, institutions, organisations and processes

131

5.3 Organic agriculture as a part of a livelihood strategy

134

5.3.1 The strategy development process

134

5.3.2 Implementing the strategy ‘organic farming’

138

5.3.3 Obstacles to conversion

142

5.4 Outcomes of adopting organic farming

146

5.4.1 Perception and interpretation of outcomes of organic farming

146

5.4.2 Changes in vulnerability and dependencies

150

5.4.3 Learning processes

152

Learning processes of the farmers

153

5.5 Dropping out of organic farming

155

5.5.1 Profiles of defaulters

155

5.5.2 Motivations for dropping out of organic farming

158

5.5.3 Outcomes of defaulting

159

5.6 Summary: Adopting organic farming

160

6 Utilizing organic farming as a viable development option

164

6.1 Potentials and limitations of organic farming for improving livelihoods

164

6.1.1 The impact of organic farming on livelihoods

164

6.1.2 Integrating organic farming into a livelihood strategy

169

6.2 Success factors and constraints in disseminating organic farming

173

6.2.1 Recommendations for support activities

173

6.2.2 Policy implications

178

6.3 Concluding remarks

181

References

184

Annex

192

1 Background information on the Maikaal bioRe project and its region

192

1.1 Details of the Maikaal bioRe project (2003–2005)

192

1.2 Average farm size in the Maikaal bioRe project

192

1.3 Rainfall in the project region

193

1.4 Crops grown in the project region

193

1.5 Population data of Maheshwar and Kasravad Tehsil

194

1.6 Castes in the project region

194

2 Methodology

195

2.1 Approximation formula for irrigation water quantities

195

3 Results of the system comparison study

201

3.1 Cropping patterns in cotton farms

201

3.2 Labour, nutrient and irrigation input in cotton cultivation

201

3.3 Soil parameters in cotton fields

202

3.4 Seed cotton yields in different sub-groups of cotton fields

202

3.5 Yield models for organic and conventional cotton farming

203

3.6 Economic performance of cotton cultivation

204

3.7 Performance of rotation crops

205

3.8 Economic impact on the farm

206

3.9 Profiles of organic, conventional and defaulting farms

207

4 Results of the adoption analysis (qualitative research)

209

4.1 Perceptions and attitudes of conventional farmers

210

4.2 The relation of cotton farms to their context

212

4.3 Integrating organic farming into the livelihood strategy

213

4.4 Implementing organic farming as a part of a livelihood strategy

214

4.5 Obstacles to converting to organic farming

214

4.6 Changes in the livelihood situation perceived by organic farmers after adoption

215

4.7 Organic farms and their relation to the context

218

4.8 Learning processes

218

4.9 Dropping out of organic farming (‘defaulting’)

219

5 Methodological reflection on the research approach

220

5.1 Suitability of the RL-Framework

220

5.2 Reflection on the research methods

222