About the Book
Genetically modified (GM) crop have been touted as a solution to improve agricultural productivity and lift the lot of farmers in developing countries. However, the reality on the grounds is that the performance and impacts of GM crops have been extremely uneven.
This is starkly illustrated by the experience of Burkina Faso in planting Bt cotton, a variety genetically engineered to be resistant to insect pests. Bt cotton was introduced commercially in the West African country in 2008, only to be phased out just seven years later after showing a marked decline in fibre quality compared with conventional Burkinabé cotton.
Drawing upon research carried out in one of the largest cotton-growing areas in Burkina Faso, this paper documents the country’s shortlived, less-than-successful experience with Bt cotton cultivation, and explores the possible reasons behind the debacle, including commercial interest in pushing the corporate-owned Bt technology. The paper also looks at similar problems faced by other countries growing Bt cotton, before concluding with a call to move away from promoting GM crops towards supporting indigenous varieties and agroecological practices.
1. Setting the Context: Burkina Faso and Cotton
About this paper: Interviews and focus groups around conventional and Bt Cotton
2. Organization and Structure of the Cotton Sector
SOFITEX and other cotton companies
Cotton research and development
3. The Bt Cotton Race Ends with a Quick Return to Conventional Cotton in 2016/17
Bt cotton: from experimentation to commercialization
Monsanto successfully penetrates the Burkina Faso cotton sector
Problems with Bt cotton in Burkina Faso
The end of transgenic cotton in Burkina Faso or a future return to Bt cotton?
4. The Importance of Breeding in Consolidating Solid Crop Traits
Quality is key: when theory does not match reality
5. International Experiences with Bt Cotton and Socioeconomic Considerations:
Annex I: Explanatory Note on the Fact-Finding Mission in Houndé
Annex II: Questionnaire Model for the Focus Groups
Annex III: Format of Individual Survey
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