Burkina Faso Cotton Farmers Begin Crop Harvest Amid Flooding

Farmers in Burkina Faso, Africa’s biggest cotton producer, have started harvesting the fiber as rainfall flooded some growers’ fields, according to the national producers’ union.

The 300,000 producers in the group planted 585,000 hectares (1.4 million acres), Karim Traore, president of the organization, said by phone yesterday from Bobo Dioulasso. About 200 hectares of cotton fields were flooded, he said.

Farmers in Burkina Faso plant cotton, the country’s second-biggest foreign-currency earner, in May and June. Output is expected to rise to 532,000 metric tons in the 2012-13 season from 414,000 tons last year, according to the Interprofessional Cotton Association, an industry group.

Producers have spent more money this year than in the last harvest season to manage weeds and insects on their plantations, Traore said. As much as 60 percent of seeds planted were of the regular variety, he said.

Farmers were unable to plant as many genetically modified seeds, which is meant to be resistant to some pests, as last year after a mix-up, Societe Burkinabe des Fibres Textiles, the country’s biggest buyer, said in May.

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