Monsanto May Suspend Burkina Faso Business After Ban

  • West African country phasing out use after poor test results
  • Monsanto to maintain operations in other parts of Africa

Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed company, may temporarily suspend its operations in Burkina Faso after the West African country’s government moved to stop production of genetically modified cotton.

The government is “neglecting the small-scale farmers in Burkina Faso by taking this very dramatic and severe type of decision,” Monsanto South Africa Managing Director Kobus Steenkamp told reporters Tuesday in Bothaville in South Africa’s Free State province.

“We will temporarily perhaps suspend our business there, but we will not totally withdraw because we still believe our technology will bring a benefit to farmers in those areas,” he said.

Burkina Faso, Africa’s biggest cotton grower, said last month it will reduce acreage for modified cotton until it’s phased out in 2018 and replace it with a conventional variety of the crop. The government cited unsatisfactory fiber length in the modified crop grown in a pilot project with Monsanto.

Monsanto will adhere to Burkina Faso’s legislation and remain involved in countries in East Africa, West Africa and South Africa, Steenkamp said.

(Corrects headline and first paragraph and restores dropped word "perhaps" in third paragraph of story published Tuesday.)
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