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, Nextbigfuture.com
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