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The Success Story of Bt Cotton in Burkina Faso: A Role Model for Sustainable Cotton Production in other Cotton-growing Countries?

The West-African cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) industry has a huge economic potential. In particular, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Mali play an important role as exporter on the world market. Still, the cotton sector is also subject to a number of risks that can threaten the sustainability of the cotton production in West Africa. This chapter overviews the challenging pest problems and assesses how biotechnology and, more specifically, insect-resistant cotton (Bt cotton), overcome these problems. Introduction of Bt cotton in Burkina Faso and South Africa resulted in important benefits regarding yield, farmer income, pesticide use, and environmental and health impacts. When structural and institutional limitations are suppressed to realize its full potential, Bt cotton can clearly contribute both to the economic and environmental sustainability of the cotton production.