Yield and Profitability of Cotton Grown Under Smallholder Organic and Conventional Cotton Farming Systems in Meatu District, Tanzania

  • T. N. Bwana
  • Nyambilila A. AmuriEmail author
  • E. Semu
  • J. E. Olesen
  • A. Henningsen
  • M. R. Baha
  • J. Hella


Agronomic practices have a large effect on the yield and profitability of low-input smallholder cotton farming in Africa. A two-season field experiment was conducted in a semi-arid cotton growing area in Meatu District, Tanzania, to compare the yield and profitability of various conventional and organic cotton production practices. Besides the currently applied low-input conventional and organic cotton production practices, higher-input and innovative farming practices as well as control treatments (without fertiliser or pesticides) were tested. While season 1 had weather conditions that were very suitable for cotton production, much less rainfall in season 2 severely reduced the yield and land rent in both conventional and organic cotton production. In general, conventional and organic practices have similar cotton yields, but organic practices often generate higher land rents than conventional practices due to a higher price for organic cotton and lower production costs. In both seasons, the innovative organic practice generated the highest land rent of all conventional and organic practices, and it is statistically significantly higher than the land rents of all conventional farming practices.


Organic cotton Conventional cotton Yield Economic performance Green gram Smallholder farmers Land rent 



The authors acknowledge financial support by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Grant: 14-02KU) and the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania. The authors are grateful to BioRe Tanzania for availing the research site, to Bo Markussen for advice on the statistical analyses, and to the technical staff at Aarhus University, Denmark, and the Soil Science lab, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania, for their technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. N. Bwana
    • 1
  • Nyambilila A. Amuri
    • 1
    Email author
  • E. Semu
    • 1
  • J. E. Olesen
    • 2
  • A. Henningsen
    • 3
  • M. R. Baha
    • 3
    • 4
  • J. Hella
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Soil and Geological SciencesSokoine University of AgricultureMorogoroTanzania
  2. 2.Department of AgroecologyAarhus UniversityTjeleDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Food and Resource EconomicsUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Food and Resource EconomicsSokoine University of AgricultureMorogoroTanzania

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