Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Burkina turns its back on GM cotton

It seems that Burkina Faso is "ending its love affair" with Genetically Modified cotton, citing its "inferior quality" and the negative effect upon the value of Burkina cotton on the international market.

As a result, the country has begun a complete phase-out of Monsanto's bt cotton and growers are demanding $280 million from the company in compensation for their losses.

The Ecologist quotes a briefing in African Affairs, published by Oxford University Press, saying "Burkinabè cotton was renowned for its high quality, the product of a highly successful non-GM breeding programme" over 70 years. Field trials of GM cotton were initially encouraging. But after commercial release in 2009, "Burkinabè officials noticed declines in staple lengths and ginning ratios"and "by the 2013/14 season over two-thirds of the nation's crop was classified as lower-quality medium staple length."

The Ecologist highlights that a focus on increased yield is deceptive. The yield in Burkina Faso was high, but that the inferior quality meant the cotton was not selling. One official is quoted as saying: "What is the point in being the top producer if you can't even sell your cotton?"