GMO Eggplant Reduced Pesticides Used and Boosted Revenue by US$450 Per Hectare

Genetically modified insect-resistant eggplant (Bt brinjal) has successfully reduced pesticide use and improved livelihoods among the Bangladeshi farmers who grow it.

Conventionally grown brinjal is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in South Asia. Historically, brinjal farmers have sprayed as many as 84 times in a growing season to protect their crops. This prompted scientists at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) to develop a pest-resistant variety as an alternative to insecticide use.

The study, prepared for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) with support from BARI and Cornell University, found that Bt brinjal has met that goal. It documented a 39 percent reduction overall in the quantity of pesticides used and a 51 percent reduction in the number of times that farmers applied pesticides to their brinjal crop.

Farmers enjoyed a 41 percent increase in net yields from growing Bt brinjal. Higher yields and lower production costs resulted in a 27 percent increase in gross revenues per hectare, with Bt brinjal farmers realizing a gain of 38,063 taka (US$450) per hectare in net profits.

This is significant in Bangladesh, where the average annual household income per capita was just $600 in 2016, the most recent year for which figures are available.

SOURCES- Cornell Alliance for Science, Impacts of BT Brinjal Eggplant Technology in Bangladesh
Written By Brian Wang,

8 thoughts on “GMO Eggplant Reduced Pesticides Used and Boosted Revenue by US$450 Per Hectare”

  1. In order:

    1. If microbes are similar to “pests” than pesticides will kill beneficial microbes too, and a lot of what “we” digest is really done by our microbiome, not “us” though we benefit from this symbiotic relationship, and probably could not survive without it.
    2. Yes, and look at the stomachs of the average American middle-aged person and see that is the case already.
    3. Those foods are already nutritionally poor, leaving the body starved for actual nutrients, not just empty calories…so we eat more to try and get those. Also, sweet and salt foods trick the body into eating more than satiety would allow.
  2. That theory needs a lot of work to me:

    • Why would we have lost the ability to digest food?
    • Wouldn’t that result in distended stomachs, but not fat deposits
    • Wouldn’t that mean that heavily processed, simple carbs would be the easiest to digest and hence LEAST obesity promoting foods? Should I change to an all chocolate diet… hang on, I’m starting to like this…
  3. That does raise the question of whether the Bt gets into the part of the plant we eat.
    However, IIUC Bt kills insect pest that damage the plant, not microbes.

  4. But does this mean the sensitive microbiota in our stomachs loses its beneficial microbes too? If we can’t even “wash away” pesticides because they are genetically built-in, what does that do to us? There’s a theory that part of the reason for sky-rocketing obesity is failure to digest what we eat, causing our bodies to demand we eat more, with undigested food still in our expanding guts.

  5. I had to manually remove Colorado potato beetles and larvae from my eggplants this year. They didn’t respond to insecticides. Turns out they have become immune to everything in the arsenal including DDT prior to 1960.

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