Agronomic practices

What is organic production?

Organic cotton production does not simply mean replacing synthetic fertilizers and pesticides with organic ones.

Organic cultivation methods are based more on knowledge of agronomic processes than input-based conventional production is.

Cotton field in Mali
Cotton field (Mali)

The systemic approach aims to establish a diverse and balanced farming ecosystem which ideally includes all types of crops and farm activities. Farms need to complete a two-year conversion period to change their production system from conventional to organic. An essential element of organic production is the careful selection of varieties adapted to local conditions in terms of climate, soil and robustness to pests and diseases.

Soil fertility management and crop nutrition are based on crop diversification and organic inputs such as compost, mulch and manures. Pest management measures focus essentially on pest prevention and the stimulation of a balanced agroecosystem through crop rotation, mixed cultivation, trap crops, and the use of natural pesticides when pest infestation rises above the economic threshold.

Further reading:

Biovision Infonet

Organic Cotton Crop Guide (Eyhorn et al. 2005)

USDA National Organic Program (NOP)

EU Council regulations on organic farming (EC) No 834/2007

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