Among agricultural commodities, cotton posted the most gains in 2017. Burkina Faso is one of Africa’s top cotton producers, but it’s also among the world’s poorest countries.
It was also one of the first in Africa to try planting genetically modified cotton. But that experiment did not go so well.
CGTN’s June-wei Sum reports.
Burkina Faso had turned to a genetically modified stain of cotton produced by the global agricultural company Monsanto, after pests known as bollworms struck its crops in the early part of the decade.
And while the harvest produced was pest free, the quality of the crop fell. Burkina Faso cotton had been known for its premium quality long fibers, but the new crop had short fibers that were made into lower-value products.
As a result, the value of the country’s cotton exports fell from $439 million in 2013, to $285 million by 2015.
By 2016, the country decided to phase out all genetically modified cotton. Monsanto acknowledges quality changes, but told Reuters that it stopped doing business with Burkina Faso because of a dispute over seed-licensing fees.
The government said it may still return to genetic technology, but only if the breed produces both quantity and quality.