Biotech Updates

African Stakeholders Tour Bt Cotton Fields in Burkina Faso

November 7, 2012

Stakeholders from eight African countries including Ethopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe recently visited Bt cotton fields in the regions of Boni and Bobo-Dioulasso of Western Burkina Faso. The ‘Seeing-is-believing tour' was organized by ISAAA AfriCenter in conjunction with partners on 23 to 25 October 2012.

ISAAA AfriCenter and partners organize the seeing-is-believing tour annually since 2006 bringing together various stakeholders to learn about the strategies and dynamics of Burkina Faso's success with Bt cotton. The theme of this years' tour was "Ensuring production of quality Bollgard II seeds for better yields". Participants got insights of how Burkina Faso is working with farmers and scientists to produce quality seeds for the rest of the cotton growers, through a closely monitored seed multiplication chain. They also got the opportunity to interact with farmers and the personnel of the country's Agricultural Research Institute (INERA) and the SOFITEX cotton company who shared their findings on the social economic impacts of Bt cotton in their country.

"The things we saw on the ground are experiences that are not mentioned in journals. To see the physical conditions of farmers and how they have benefited from Bt cotton is an eye opening experience" noted Hon. Dr. Sylvester Nguni, Zimbabwe's Minister of State in the Office of the Vice President, who also was among the participants during the tour.

The tour brought together 52 participants, among them, extension officers, farmers, journalists, policy makers, scientists and regulators. "The experience has shown me how things work on the ground and I am convinced that science can make a difference in people's lives. With the data collected, I have enough to inform our stakeholders on the adoption of Bt cotton in the region," said Dr. Getachew Belay, Senior Biotechnology Policy Advisor for the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa of COMESA.

For more information on the tour, contact Dr. Margaret Karembu, Director of ISAAA AfriCenter at