African Farmers Reap Gains Of Biotech Cotton

Via @EcoSenseNow Patrick Moore and

By Ronald Njoroge

Date – 1 Dec 2013

Website –

OUAUDOUGOU — Burkina Faso small scale farmer, Sanu Sibiri, took up planting of Genetically Modified Cotton in 2009. Four years later, his life has improved dramatically as a result of embracing biotechnology in one of world poorest continent.

“For the first time I was able to make a return on my investment thanks to the Bt cotton,” he said when African farmers went on study tour of his farm on Sunday that is located 400 km away from Burkina Faso’s capital city of Ouagadougou.

Sibiri, who has planted three hectares of biotech cotton, added that yields have improved from 400 kg per ha to at least one tonne per ha. However, scientists have been able to achieve two tonnes per ha.

The transgenic cotton that is widely grown in Burkina Faso was developed by inserting a gene on one of the locally available high yielding varieties.

The GM cotton is highly resistant to the Bollworm pest that is responsible for most of harvests losses.

The father of four, now only has to spray his cash crop twice per season down from the nine that was required with conventional cotton. The two sprays are against the sucking insects that are common in Africa.

The pesticides are also one of the biggest costs of production for any cotton farmer. “I have channeled the savings to improve the living standards of my family,” the farmer said.

“I now also have more time to do social activities instead of applying the dangerous pesticides,” he said. The West African nation was one of the few countries that have taken the bold step of commercializing Bt cotton.