Convergence of Food Security, Energy Security and Sustainable Agriculture

Volume 67 of the series Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry pp 239-293


The Role of Biotechnology in Sustainable Agriculture of the Twenty-First Century: The Commercial Introduction of Bollgard II in Burkina Faso

  • Jeff VitaleAffiliated withDepartment of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University Email author 
  • , John GreenplateAffiliated withMonsanto

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In the broader context of West African cotton production, we present empirical evidence of how Bt cotton has impacted the Burkina Faso cotton industry based on household surveys that encompass the first 3 years of commercial production, 2009 through 2011. The surveys document the impact of Bt cotton on household income, production costs, pesticide use, and associated health issues. Briefly, over 3 years, a mean yield increase of 22 % was observed with Bt cotton over conventional cotton with a reduction of insect sprays by at least two-thirds, resulting in significantly reduced human pesticide exposure. Roughly equivalent production costs enabled growers to retain the value of the extra yields, which led to mean income benefits of about $65 per ha and contributed heavily to a national level economic benefit of approximately $53 million over the 3 years surveyed. These data are discussed in the context of West African cotton production, its history, current issues, and potential sustainability.