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May 18, 2011

Burkina Faso cotton producers protest fertilizer price hike

by Simon Gongo

Cotton growers in western Burkina Faso, Africa’s biggest producer of the fiber, held protests in two cities yesterday against government-set prices and threatened to boycott the crop season, union officials said.

More than 2,000 producers demonstrated in Bobo Dioulasso, 360 kilometers (217 miles) west of the capital, Ouagadougou, Abou Ouattara, president of a producers union in Houet Bobo province, said in an interview May 13. About 2,500 people marched in Dedougou, 250 kilometers northwest of the capital, Nouhanta Bonzi, a spokesman of the demonstrators, said by phone.

The growers demand fertilizer prices be reduced to last year’s levels, Ouattara said. The state increased the price by 38 percent. Farmers also want the government to double the minimum price it pays growers to 500 CFA francs ($1.07) per kilogram (2.2 pounds). The West African state raised the fee by 35 percent to 245 francs on April 25.

Burkina Faso produced 226,000 metric tons of cotton in 2008, the latest data available on the Food and Agricultural Organization’s website. The country is the world’s 11th biggest grower of the fiber, according to the United Nations agency.


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