Biological pest control in cotton cultivation is already widespread in Tanzania and will also be an important issue in Côte d’Ivoire. Read the most interesting results in German and English.

Ben Sekamatte, a long-standing agricultural expert and consultant to cotton companies in East Africa, presented exciting findings at a webinar organized by the German Textiles Partnership at the beginning of May.

For the past 4 – 5 years, conventional cotton farmers in Tanzania have also increasingly been using organic pest control methods instead of continuing to use chemical pesticides. They work with biopesticides based on local Solanum and Neem plants and they use pest traps with molasses, a by-product of sugar production. The results speak for themselves:

  • Cotton yields from “organic” farming are only slightly lower than those of conventional farmers. At the same time, the costs of biological pest control are significantly lower, making the “alternative” method worthwhile for farmers. And they vote with their feet. Many thousands of conventional farmers in Tanzania have already converted their operations.
  • Research by the TARI agricultural research institute in Tanzania has also shown in pilot trials that Ha yields of up to 2 tons can be achieved if the methods of biological pest control are further optimized. That is a lot in rainfed cultivation.
  • As a result, the Tanzanian government is in the process of officially approving the aforementioned biopesticides and recommending their use for other crops as well.

There are also promising approaches in the Ivory Coast with regard to the use of biopesticides in cotton cultivation

Dr. Etienne Dia, a researcher at the University of Korogho, is one of the leading experts in Côte d’Ivoire on the development of biopesticides. He has researched biopesticides based on 8 different local plants and developed stable, usable sprays. These have already been tested in a series of field trials with promising results. Etienne Dia is now waiting to be able to test his products in large-scale field trials with the local cotton companies. In doing so, he finds that all four Ivorian cotton companies are very receptive. Everyone involved knows that the days of expensive chemical pesticides are numbered. However, there has so far been a lack of research funding to scientifically support such trials.

Conclusion: It is no longer a question of whether biological pest control is useful and necessary in cotton cultivation. The practical test has already been passed. The task now is to roll out and further research these methods with scientific support. However, this urgently requires research funding, which could either be provided by the textile value chain and/or by committed NGOs such as WWF and NABU. A long wait is not recommended for the parties involved. The year 2030, by which the UN Biodiversity Conference aims to reduce the use of chemical pesticides in all crops by 50 percent, is fast approaching.

Cover picture: The photo shows Roger Peltzer and Dr. Etienne Dia, biopesticide expert from Côte d’Ivoire, in front of a hotel in Abidjan in May 2024.


  • Roger Peltzer

    70 years old, married, 3 children and soon 4 grandchildren. I studied economics at the University of Münster and then completed a postgraduate course at the German Institute for Development Policy (now IDOS).

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The future of cotton lies in biological pest control

Roger Peltzer

[wpml-string context="pb-bioinfo" name="info-1"]70 Jahre alt, verheiratet, 3 Kinder und bald 4 Enkel. Ich habe an der Universität Münster Volkswirtschaft studiert und anschließend den postgraduierten Kurs am deutschen Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (heute IDOS) absolviert.[/wpml-string]

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