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Bt Cotton in Burkina Faso
Author: Juan López Villar
Publisher: TWN and African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB)
Year Published: 2017
No. of pages: 48
ISBN: 978-967-0747-17-0

New Book Release


Bt Cotton in Burkina Faso

When Theory Does Not Match Reality

Juan López Villar

Co-publishers: TWN and African Centre for Biodiversity

ISBN: 978-967-0747-17-0

Year: 2017   No. of pages: 48

14.5 cm x 21 cm

About the Book

Genetically modified (GM) crop have been touted as a solution to improve agricultural productivity and lift the lot of farmers in developing countries. However, the reality on the grounds is that the performance and impacts of GM crops have been extremely uneven.

    This is starkly illustrated by the experience of Burkina Faso in planting Bt cotton, a variety genetically engineered to be resistant to insect pests. Bt cotton was introduced commercially in the West African country in 2008, only to be phased out just seven years later after showing a marked decline in fibre quality compared with conventional Burkinabé cotton.

   Drawing upon research carried out in one of the largest cotton-growing areas in Burkina Faso, this paper documents the country’s shortlived, less-than-successful experience with Bt cotton cultivation, and explores the possible reasons behind the debacle, including commercial interest in pushing the corporate-owned Bt technology. The paper also looks at similar problems faced by other countries growing Bt cotton, before concluding with a call to move away from promoting GM crops towards supporting indigenous varieties and agroecological practices.



1.         Setting the Context: Burkina Faso and Cotton   


            About this paper: Interviews and focus groups around conventional and Bt Cotton            

2.         Organization and Structure of the Cotton Sector  

            SOFITEX and other cotton companies    


            Cotton research and development     


3.         The Bt Cotton Race Ends with a Quick Return to Conventional Cotton in 2016/17      

            Bt cotton: from experimentation to commercialization         

            Monsanto successfully penetrates the Burkina Faso cotton sector    

            Problems with Bt cotton in Burkina Faso      

            The end of transgenic cotton in Burkina Faso or a future return to Bt cotton?    

4.         The Importance of Breeding in Consolidating Solid Crop Traits      

            Quality is key: when theory does not match reality            

5.         International Experiences with Bt Cotton and Socioeconomic Considerations:

            Comparative Analysis


            South Africa 

6.         Conclusions              

Annex I:  Explanatory Note on the Fact-Finding Mission in Houndé   

Annex II:  Questionnaire Model for the Focus Groups        

Annex III:  Format of Individual Survey                                    

                                             PRICE           POSTAGE

Malaysia                               RM8.00           RM2.00

Developing Countries       US$6.00          US$3.00 (air)

Others                                  US$8.00          US$4.00 (air)

(For orders of more than 3 copies, please write in for reduced postal rate)

How to Order the Book

Visit our TWN Online Bookshop at: or contact Third World Network at 131 Jalan Macalister, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.


Tel: 604-2266159

Fax: 604-2264505

Email: for further information.

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