A new study conducted by Cornell University reveals that eggplant farmers in Bangladesh have attained significantly higher yields and revenues by growing the insect resistant, genetically engineered (GE) Bt brinjal (eggplant). According to the study published in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, the four Bt brinjal varieties yielded, on average, 19.6% more eggplant than non-Bt varieties and earned growers 21.7% higher revenue.
The study, led by Dr. Anthony Shelton, professor of entomology and former director for the Feed the Future South Asia Eggplant Improvement Partnership, is the first to document the economic benefits of four Bt brinjal varieties though the Bangladeshi market chain and their acceptability to farmers and consumers.
The survey was conducted in the five most important brinjal producing districts in Bangladesh – Rangpur, Bogura, Rajshahi, Jashore, and Tangail – through face-to-face interviews with 195 Bt farmers and 196 non-Bt farmers.
Of Bt brinjal farmers, 83.1% were satisfied with their yields and 80.6% were satisfied with the quality of their crops. However, only 58.7% of non-Bt brinjal farmers were pleased with their yields and 28% said that a large portion of their fruit was infested with eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB) larvae, which is not a concern with Bt brinjal because of its inherent resistance to EFSB. Because of higher yields, increased revenue, and better fruit quality, about three-quarters of Bt brinjal farmers said they planned to grow the crop again next season.
(Source: Crop Biotech Update, International Service for Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. www.isaaa.org)