Crop Biotech Update

Burkina Faso Farmers Gaining from Bt Cotton

November 27, 2009

After the second season of planting Bt cotton, farmers in Burkina Faso are expecting to harvest an average 1.3 to 1.5 tons per hectare, a significant gain compared to the 950 kg per hectare which was the average yield for conventional cotton. A harvest of 150,000 tons of Bt cotton is expected this year countrywide. This information was shared by farmers last November 8-13, 2009 during a "Seeing-is-believing tour" organized by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) AfriCenter for journalists, policy makers, regulators, farmers and technicians of the cotton sectors from Kenya, Mali and Burkina Faso.

The farmers also noted that compared to conventional cotton which requires on average 8 sprays, Bt cotton requires at most two sprays of pesticides. This is a relief for farmers and their families for the considerable reduction of labor involved in fetching water for the spray from long distances, and the strain involved in carrying the chemical. They associated considerable reduction in health issues, such as occasional colds, blisters and poisoning, to less pesticide use and exposure.

For more information contact Bridget Bitta of ISAAA AfriCenter at  b.bitta@cgiar.org