Burkina Faso 2015/16 cotton output down 18 pct on poor weather

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OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Burkina Faso produced 581,000 tonnes of raw cotton in the recently ended 2015/16 season, down 18 percent from the previous harvest and well short of its aim of a record crop of 800,000 tonnes, the national cotton association said on Friday.

The Inter-professional Cotton Association of Burkina (AICB), which groups together the country’s three cotton companies and the national cotton farmers union (UNPCB), said the drop in output was due to poor weather conditions.

Seasonal rains arrived late. There were long dry spells at critical times but also flooding during other periods when the rains were too abundant, the AICB’s secretary general Georges Yameogo told a news conference.

Cotton is the second-biggest source of revenue for the impoverished West African nation after gold. Its season runs from May to February, and it produced 707,000 tonnes of raw cotton during the 2014/15 harvest.

The AICB announced on Friday a farmer price of 235 CFA francs ($0.4059) per kilogramme for the 2016/17 season.

It meanwhile said that the government and cotton companies would offer subsidies worth 13.5 billion CFA francs to help pay for fertiliser and pesticides at a time when Burkina is weaning itself off of genetically modified cotton.

The cotton association said this month that it is seeking 48.3 billion CFA francs in compensation from U.S. seed company Monsanto after it said GM cotton led to a drop in quality.

It has asking farmers to stop using GM seeds until the technology is improved.

Monsanto has argued that a host of factors can lead to a drop in quality and says it is continuing to negotiate with its partners in Burkina Faso.

($1 = 579.0100 CFA francs)

(Reporting by Mathieu Bonkongou; Writing by Joe Bavier)

 

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