Crop Biotech Update

Biosafety Law Translated in Local Languages of Burkina Faso

May 21, 2010

Burkina Faso has embarked on a program to create awareness on the National Biosafety Law. The law has been translated into the three most commonly spoken languages (Mooré, Jula and Gulmacema) in the cotton growing areas. The first phase of translation has been achieved and the National Biosafety Authority is planning to reach out to farmers with the documents and to train them on the existing provisions regarding the use and management of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the country.

Since 2008, Burkina Faso has positioned itself as a producer of transgenic crops with 2 to 4 millions of farmers involved in the production of Bt cotton. Most of these producers have low literacy levels, especially when it comes to reading French, the actual language in which the biosafety law is written.

The program was launched by Minister of Secondary and Higher Education, Science and Technology Joseph Paré on May 18, 2010 in Ouagadougou. It is sponsored by the West Africa Cotton Improvement Program (WACIP) and the Agricultural Diversification and Market Development Project. The Minister urged different stakeholders, especially journalists to get acquainted with the documents and to inform farmers as well as the local and international public about the program.

At the moment, 6000 translated copies (2000 per language) consisting of summaries of essential extracts of the Act have been printed and they will be distributed to farmers through extension services.

For more information, contact Cyr Payim Ouédraogo, Chairman of the West African Network for Communicators on Agricultural Biotechnology (RECOAB) at cyrpayim@hotmail.com