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Burkinabe farmers now depend on Bt cotton seeds

May '10
As per industry sources, owing to lower rainfall and reduced prices, Burkina Faso failed to meet its target set for 2009-10 and was able to manufacture only 363,000 tons of cotton. But they have set target of 600,000 tons for the 2010-11 fiscal.

Initially the target set for the year 2009-10 was about 520,000 tons of cotton, but farmers were dejected due to repeated amount of poor rainfall followed by lesser cotton price, and therefore concentrated more on fertilising food crops than cotton.

Georges Yameogo, Secretary General of the Burkinabe Professional Cotton Association, had set the target figure for the year 2009-10. This association comprises of three main cotton manufacturers and unions of the country.

According to a cotton manufacturer, last year was pathetic due to changing rain patterns, for instance, the first rainfall was witnessed on June 29 while the last on September 20.

Since the product price at, which it was sold by the farm was low, 160 CFA francs per kilogram, farmers utilised fertilisers for their corn crop than cotton. Some of them have also completely dumped cotton cultivation. Owing to this, farming areas dropped by nine percent as compared to the 2008-09 season, added industry experts.

Although, the poor West African nation's key crop is cotton, Burkina Faso, is witnessing a drop in its production, just like its neighbours, Mali and Ivory Coast. The reason behind this fall is the combination of irregular weather and trade practices followed by bigger cotton producing nations, which has further increased the international supply but had pulled down prices.

Since five years, Africa's output of cotton had dipped by nearly half. Despite this, the African Cotton Association is hoping that, in the next season cotton output will increase by almost 18 percent, partly due to rising use of Bt cotton seeds.

Currently, the Burkinabe farmers have planted cotton way ahead of the 2010-11 harvesting season. Officials thereby, are looking at increasing the use of Bt cotton seeds to about 80 percent, up from the current level of just 30 percent.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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