Many smallholders in the region around Yéviépé have become economically dependent in recent years. In the villages, commercial suppliers sell hybrid seeds with the “appropriate” pesticides and artificial fertilizers to small farmers at favorable conditions. In return, the farmers agree to sell the harvest to the commercial suppliers at a predetermined and usually unfavorable price per kilo.
Hybrid seeds often produce good yields in the first few years. But there are several key disadvantages. First, hybrid seeds cannot be propagated and must be newly purchased each year. Second, the usually associated use of pesticides, insecticides and artificial fertilizers lead to a degeneration of soil quality. Third, the storability of hybrid crops is often poorer. This makes it rather unattractive for farmers to store part of their harvest and sell it at a later date at better prices or to consume it themselves in the event of food shortages.