GM cotton's return to Burkina Faso on hold over Bayer-Monsanto deal

From Reuters - February 27, 2018

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Talks with Bayer to reintroduce genetically modified (GM) cotton in Burkina Faso are on hold pending the German drug and crop chemicals makers acquisition of U.S. rival Monsanto, the head of the West African nations top cotton company said on Tuesday.

Burkina Faso - Africas leading cotton grower in recent years - became a showcase for GM cotton technology on the continent when it introduced varieties containing Monsantos Bollgard II trait in 2008.

However, in 2016 it abandoned the Monsantovarieties, complaining they led to a drop in cotton fiber length resulting in around $85 million in lost earnings for Burkina Fasos cotton companies.

Wilfried Yameogo, the director of Sofitex, Burkina Fasos biggest cotton company, said it initially approached Bayer in 2014 amid its troubles with Monsanto.

Bayer produces cotton traits under the TwinLink Plus and TwinLink trademarks that, like Monsantos Bollgard II, also use genes from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) to protect against pests.

We expressed our wish to establish a partnership with Bayer ... Bayer had shown its agreement in principle, Yameogo told Reuters.

However, it subsequently launched a $63.5 billion bid to purchase Monsanto and talks to introduce Bayers GM cotton traits in Burkina Faso were suspended, Yameogo said.


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