Recently, the Financial Express in Bangladesh published a news article entitled ‘Pest-resistant Bt Brinjal comes under pest attack’, claiming that farmers who are now cultivating insect-resistant genetically-modified brinjal (eggplant) were being forced to spray more pesticides than usual because of severe pest attack. The allegation was clear – that Bt technology has failed, and that farmers are already losing out.
Bt brinjal is a joint public-sector project between the government-run Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) and scientists at Cornell University, with funding from USAID. Hearing the allegations by the Financial Express, BARI’s director of research Khaled Sultan and other project officials immediately traveled to visit the farmer whose Bt brinjal plants were alleged to be dying. What they found is very different from the allegations put out in the media.
The BARI delegation reports that the Bt brinjal crop in farmer Haidul Islam’s field is currently “healthy and infestation-free”. The project team also spoke to the supposedly distressed farmer Haidul Islam, who revealed that the story began when two young men visited his farm and told him that he was growing a “poisonous” crop on his vegetable patch which would be bad for the health of him and his family. The two men did not reveal their identities.
Read the full, original article: Anti-GMO activists in Bangladesh tell lies to farmers and the media