An investigation of some of the socio-economic factors that affect cotton production in Morogoro region, Tanzania: a case study in Morogoro District

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University of Dar es Salaam
The study examines some socio-economic factors affecting cotton production in Morogoro District, Tanzania, particularly those responsible for the wide fluctuations and generally unsatisfactory progress of the industry. Data necessary for the study were collected by questionnaires from a sample of 40 cotton farmers drawn randomly from seven villages. General conversations were also conducted with farmers who had stopped growing cotton. Secondly data were obtained through personal communication with cotton officials and from the Tanzania Cotton Authority (TCA) and Ministry of Agriculture files. The study begins by describing the present world cotton situation with regard to production and prices. It then goes on to consider the Tanzanian case for the same. Farmers’ priorities and objectives in farming are identified first. Then resources available and used are analysed. Particular attention is paid to labour for it is the most limiting resource. On average, a family farm labour force of 2.5 adult equivalents existed and they cultivated a total area of 2.5 ha. Variables tested to measure their effect on cotton production include: age of farmers, years of education, family available labour force, area under cotton, extension contacts, number of weeding for cotton, number of sprayings, block or non-block farming, seasons in cotton cultivation and area under other cash crops. Among these variables only the number of times the cotton was sprayed and the area under cotton were found to have statistically significant effects on cotton production. With regard to cotton yield per ha, only the number of times the cotton was sprayed had a statistically significant effect. In another equation, off-farm employment and cash from cotton were found to be statistically significant in affecting total annual cash income among families in the survey. After analysing the present farming system, sorghum was found to have the highest return per man-day with Shs 8.7 followed by maize with shs 8.5. For the cash crops, sunflower, paddy and simsim, each indicated a return per man-day of Shs 6.7. Cotton, which is a priority cash crop in the area, indicated a return per man-day of Shs 2.9 when only family labour was used in all operations. The study indicated two major shortcomings facing cotton production in the district: (1) prices for cotton are too low in relation to alternative cash crops, (2) labour available after meeting subsistence needs is not enough to produce enough cotton to have much effect on income to farmers. A modified cash crop farming system includes 2.3 ha of sunflowers and 1.0ha of beans after meeting full subsistence needs. Such a system reduces the unused annual available labour from 50 to 30 percent and increases the net cash income from crops per family from Shs 1,400 for the mix of crops found for an average farm by the survey to Shs 3, 100 at constant prices. In another system, cotton was brought in at the largest area (0.69ha) permitted by available family labour after meeting needs for subsistence crops. Labour permitted the growth also of 0.38 ha of sunflowers and 1.2ha of beans. Under this system, net family cash income dropped to Shs 2,200. The share of cotton in this sum was shs 900 and that of sunflower and beans shs 1,300. To make cotton an economically viable crop it is necessary to double the present price. The use of a tractor for cotton land preparation did not increase the maximum permitted area under cotton but instead reduced the total family cash income further to Shs 2, 100. Policy recommendations described emphasize the need for considering resource level availability, farmers’ objectives and enterprise profitability prior to popularizing any innovation package.
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Cotton growing, Morogoro (District), Tanzania
Minde, I. J (1979) An investigation of some of the socio-economic factors that affect cotton production in Morogoro region, Tanzania: a case study in Morogoro District, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (