Bangladesh was the first country in South Asia to allow a genetically modified food crop. Since its beginning with only 20 farmers in 2014, there are now more than 27,000 smallholders all across the country who have adopted Bt Brinjal. Though the initial reason behind developing Bt Brinjal was to save brinjal from fruit and shoot borer (FSB) attacks, the benefits are now multiple as research suggests.
A research conducted on 1,200 farmers in Rangpur and Rajshahi region during 2017-18, identified that Bt Brinjal net yield increased by 42% (equivalent to an increase of 3,622 kg per hectare) and reduced cost of growing brinjal by 31% per kg. Published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the research reported reduced number of pesticide applications by 51%. As a result, the cost of applying pesticides is reduced by 47% per hectare. Due to higher yields and lower production costs, there is an increase of 27% in gross revenues per hectare with Bt brinjal. In quantitative terms that means farmers can realize a gain of 33,827 Taka (approximately USD 400) per hectare in net profit.
The outcome of the research supports previous studies. However, we need to have significant impact studies with socio-economic, environmental, and health parameters before introducing any new crop variety in Bangladesh.
Dr. F H Ansarey
Managing Director & CEO
ACI Agribusiness