In 2008, the commercial cultivation of Genetically Modified (GM) cotton (Bollgard II®) started in Burkina Faso. The adoption rate increased rapidly in subsequent years to reach around 70% in 2014. Although some criticisms were raised concerning the suitability of the technology for the farming system in Burkina Faso, the introduction of transgenic cotton in the country was generally regarded as a great success. Despite this, during the 2016-2017 agricultural campaign, the government of Burkina Faso decided to suspend the cultivation of Bollgard II®. In this context, this paper investigates farmers' knowledge, perceptions, opinions and attitudes towards Bollgard II® as well as their views on the recent decision to suspend its cultivation. Data was collected from 324 cotton farmers, both growers of conventional and Bollgard II®. The results showed that the farmers surveyed had a poor knowledge concerning the core concepts of biotechnology and Bollgard II® in particular. Moreover, the regulatory oversight of the implementation of the technology was found insufficient, as illustrated by the lack of compliance with prescriptions concerning refuge areas and pesticide treatments. Nevertheless, overall, the farmers interviewed had a slightly positive opinion about the effects on yield, income and their wellbeing. In particular the reduction in pesticide treatments was perceived very positively by all respondents. Although the study finds that the majority of farmers disagreed with the recent suspension of Bt cotton cultivation by the government, it also makes clear that a thorough debate on the technology and its implementation is necessary.
Keywords: Bacillus thuringiensis; Biotechnology; Bollgard II(®); Genetically modified; Refuge area; Transgenic cotton.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.