Logo: Farm Radio Weekly

1404 Scott Street,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1Y 4M8

Tel: 613-761-3650
Fax: 613-798-0990
Toll-Free: 1-888-773-7717
Email: info@farmradio.org
Web Site: http://farmradio.org/

Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Notes to broadcasters: Genetically modified cotton

Cotton is a soft, fluffy fibre that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants. For more information about the plant, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton

The story in this issue talks about farmers who have chosen to grow a genetically modified variety of the plant. Farm Radio Weekly recently published Notes to broadcasters on the subject of GMOs. You can find the Notes here: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/04/08/notes-to-broadcasters-genetically-modified-organisms-gmos/.

This story from Burkina Faso, about the threat to organic cotton from neighbouring GM plants, is available in issue #152: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2011/04/11/burkina-faso-organic-cotton-under-threat-from-gm-cotton-by-inoussa-maiga-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-burkina-faso/

Notes to broadcasters on cotton in Burkina Faso are available in issue #163 of Farm Radio Weekly through this link: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2011/07/11/notes-to-broadcasters-on-cotton-in-burkina-faso/

Cotton farmers in Africa often face an uneven playing field when it comes to getting a fair price for their harvest. A November 2010 article in the UK-based Guardian newspaper (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/14/mali-cotton-farmer-fair-trade) talks about the problems that Malian farmers face with cotton prices, while US-based producers receive large subsidies from their government.

Some Malian farmers are getting a better price for their cotton through fair trade schemes: http://fairtradeblog.tumblr.com/post/45101562504/mali-cotton-farmers-fighting-for-a-fair-deal-in-an

Another article about the inequities of the global cotton trade can be found here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-19/booming-cotton-no-boon-to-farmers-in-africa-milked-by-regional-monopolies.html

This Farm Radio International script on cotton was published in Farm Radio Weekly: Developing cotton organizations in Mali: From Village Association to co-operative (FRW 62, April 2009) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/04/20/developing-cotton-organizations-in-mali-from-village-association-to-cooperative/. This story shows how change can happen when farmers’ voices are heard.

You may wish to explore this topic in a program. Are farmer protests common in your country? What issues do farmers protest about? How do farmers voice their concerns? How does government view the protests and react to farmers? Contact farmers’ groups or campaigning/advocacy organizations and ask about issues, methods and successes as well as failures.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.