Biotech Updates

Learning from Burkinabe Farmers' Experiences with Bt Cotton

November 27, 2013

African stakeholders from nine African countries have just completed a tour of Bt cotton fields in Burkina Faso.  from 19th to 22nd November 2013. It was attended by stakeholders from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, drawn mainly from research, media, regulatory services, cotton and seed industries as well as various policy makers.

The tour enabled participants to have face to face interactions with farmers, scientists and the cotton company in Bobo-Dioulasso, Western Burkina Faso. The Burkinabe farmers, mostly operating small scale farms, shared their experiences with Bt cotton since its commercialization in 2008. They said that they will continue growing the crop because of the reduction of pesticide sprays.

Expressing her satisfaction at the end of the meeting, Honorable Huda Oleru, a member of parliament in Uganda said "We have understood not only the benefits of Bt cotton but also the safety aspects. My message for African countries is that we cannot run away from the technology otherwise we will be left behind. Burkina Faso is an example worthy emulating and it is the way to go for Africa". Agreeing with his Ugandan counterpart, His Excellency Mathew Tuitoek, Deputy Governor of Baringo County, Kenya, said that adopting Bt cotton will reduce production costs for farmers hence as leaders they are committed to pursuing it. "It was interesting to see that Burkinabe farmers are happy with the technology," he added.

The tour was organized by ISAAA AfriCenter, the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa of COMESA, the Program for Biosafety Systems and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation.

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