London (07.02.17) –
Just a couple of months ago we noted reported problems with GM-cotton in
Burkina Faso (1). Another report which has come to our notice has shown
that things are not so simple (2).
It turns out that six years of farm survey data found that GM cotton used 67% less insecticide and produced higher yields than conventional cotton while reducing farm labour allocated to spraying. Estimating a Cobb-Douglas cotton production function found that farm size, insecticide sprays, number of bullocks and the type of cotton significantly explained cotton yield.
Farm size was not a deterrent to GM cotton adoption: farms of all sizes benefitted significantly from growing GM cotton. On a relative basis, farms of all sizes gained equivalently, though larger farms were more productive and generated larger absolute returns from GM cotton. Interpreting production function technical coefficients suggest that household labour is higher valued and more efficiently utilised on GM cotton farms when compared to conventional cotton.
1. Africa stirs. CropGen (13.12.16) (http://www.cropgen.org/article_679.html).
2. Jeffery Vitale, Gaspard Vognan and Pilja Park Vitale. The socio-economic impacts of GM cotton in Burkina Faso: Does farm structure affect how benefits are distributed? AgBioForum (2016), 19 (2) (http://www.agbioforum.org/v19n2/v19n2a04-vitale.htm)