Ripe cotton boll (Madagascar) B. Bachelier © CIRAD


Cotton is an industrial crop, grown mainly for the textile, food and cosmetics sectors. It is one of the mainstays of cropping systems in tropical and sub-tropical regions, which also include food crops. Expanding research on cotton cropping systems in the global South therefore contributes to development and to the food self-sufficiency of people in those countries.

CIRAD conducts research on cotton cropping systems in the global South. In this way, it contributes to development and to the food self-sufficiency of people in those countries. It also provides many services and has a range of facilities, tools and laboratory methods.

Our remits

  • Boosting competitiveness (productivity and quality) on a supply chain scale
  • Improving producers' financial margins, by cutting production costs, boosting yields and improving product quality
  • Guaranteeing food security, by increasing the yields of the food crops grown in rotation, and through crop management sequences that are more resilient as regards rainfall variations, etc.
  • Making cropping systems more sustainable, by maintaining soil fertility, integrated management of pest resistance to insecticides, reducing impacts on human health and the environment (GMOs, pesticides, etc)
  • Building capacity, through training, supervising theses, researcher networking and information sharing.


  • Economic analyses of the cotton sector in support of agricultural development policies, diagnostic analyses of cotton supply chain performance in association with institutional organization.
  • Analyses of the characteristics and performance of farms in cotton-growing regions.
  • Economic and environmental impact studies of major technological innovations (GMOs) and farming practices in the fields of pest and disease management (parasites and weeds) and soil fertility management.
  • Studies, analyses and appraisals of the main critical functions in cotton supply chains: seed production plans, agricultural research, cottonseed classification, fibre classification.
  • Technological diagnoses of industrial processing equipment: ginning, spinning, etc.
  • Cotton technology laboratory diagnoses: organization, facilities, operating methods, data management, etc.
  • Research and development project design and coordination, agronomic diagnoses, design of experimental networks, transfer of knowledge and results (demonstrations, technical advice notes, "peasant universities", management advice, etc.).
  • Research project design and scientific coordination in the main disciplinary fields: biotechnologies (marker-assisted breeding, functional genomics) and biosafety, genetics (varietal creation), crop protection and integrated pest management, agronomy, agro-physiology and soil science, and fibre, yarn and seed technology.
  • Supervision of students and academic work, organization of training for technicians and researchers.

Products and services


Vocational training