The West African country of Burkina Faso has asked Bayer CropScience for assistance in producing genetically modified cotton following a decision by the country to stop planting a Monsanto variety of the crop.
This year Burkina Faso, which is Africa's largest producer of cotton, will grow only conventional cotton, Wilfried Yameogo, managing director of state-controlled Sofitex, which is Burkina Faso's largest buyer, told Bloomberg. He said the country is not ruling out an eventual return to growing GMO cotton.
A Bayer CropScience spokesman told Bloomberg that Burkina Faso's request to the company is under consideration.
In April, Burkina Faso said is was phasing out the planting of Monsanto's cotton, claiming the cotton had increasing levels of short fiber, thus reducing its market value. Monsanto said at the time that its cotton has helped increase yield potential, adding that fiber quality is influenced by environmental conditions as well as genetic background.
Yameogo told Bloomberg that if Monsanto can restore the quality of the crop, Burkina Faso would tell its farmers to begin using the seed again.
Burkina Faso harvested 630,000 tons of cotton in the 2015-2016 season.