The impact of GMO cotton on health – the great uncertainty

In 2009, some agricultural producers assigned the responsibility for series mysterious deaths of animals and birds to the cultivation of genetically-engineered cotton. Cotton producing companies and the authorities reacted immediately to challenge this. They insist that they had carried out tests which proved negative. However, up to now none of the parties have bought up any scientific proof to confirm or disprove the claims.

An outbreak of disease has affected poultry as well as small ruminants. This strange epidemic which has coincided with the malformation of babies has spread panic among some producers. A group of farmers has therefore demanded explanations from the cotton producing companies. Emmanuel, the leader of the protesters, was picked up by the gendarmes for spreading false information. He said in 2009 he lost 24 goats, 37 sheep in addition to several miscarriages among the animals. Livestock breeders such as Pati Boly stated that some sixty cows, small ruminants as well as fowls have died since production of GMO cotton began in the region. The panic forced him to send the rest of his herd to neighbouring Ghana. Hamadoun Tall and his neighbours also lost a good deal of their livestock. They blame the GMO cotton for the outbreak of diseases based on their comparison with conventional cotton and genetically modified cotton. Human health is also allegedly affected by the production of GMO cotton in the region.

The farmers, who have suspicions, do not have the wherewithal, against the powerful multinationals to make their point strongly. The argument being advanced is that these outbreaks of diseases are due to improper use of pesticides.

By Abdoul Razac Napon

Published January 25, 2012 in l’Evénement

Read the article in French Impact du coton OGM sur la santé – La grosse incertitude