Elikana Shilinde, from the village of Nyamisagusa in Tanzania, decided to grow CmiA Organic cotton four years ago and is convinced that he made the right call for himself and his family. In this interview, the 36-year-old father of three talks about the advantages he sees in working together with CmiA.
Mr. Shilinde, you have been a cotton farmer since 2010. Four years ago, you decided to start growing cotton in accordance with the CmiA Organic standard. What are the benefits of this, in your view?
I decided to grow organic cotton as a way to protect the environment and my own health. The sale price was also attractive as it is higher than for conventionally cultivated cotton. In addition, my production costs are lower. It was also very important for me to have access to training through which I was able to learn new cultivation methods and increase my income.
How did you find out about the CmiA Organic standard, and what has changed for you since?
I attended a training session put on by Alliance. The extension staff gave us a lot of information about organic cultivation. I found it exciting and wanted to learn more.
Has this change also impacted your family life?
My yield grew from around 230 kilogrammes to between 250 and 300 kilogrammes per hectare. Because I earn more, my children and I can enjoy a much more balanced diet. I was also able to buy cattle that make my work in the fields easier and are therefore very valuable to us. Our farm has now become a small family business.
Things have gotten better for my children too. They can now go to school, and I can buy new clothing for them.
Mr. Shilinde, would you share your greatest wish with us?
I would buy more land and build another house.