Bt Cotton in Burkina Faso

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)

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