Insect-resistant Bt GMO eggplant helps Bangladesh farmers increase income, reduce pesticide use

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[Editor’s note: Deb Carstoiu is managing director of plant biotech communications at CropLife International.]

The eggplant, known in Asia as brinjal, is one of the most inexpensive and popular vegetable crops grown in Bangladesh, ranked only below the potato and onion in terms of total production. It is a major source of income for around 8 million smallholder farmers, and a mainstay in the diet of the nation’s 160 million people. However, the crop is constantly under threat from the fruit and shoot borer — a moth species whose larvae burrow into the eggplant, destroying it from within. If not controlled, the pest can damage up to 100 percent of a field of eggplants and threaten the smallholder farms that depend on it.

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Anisur Rahman Sheikh in his eggplant field in Shadullapur, Bangladesh. (Photo: CropLife)

[Anisur] Rahman Sheikh recently planted biotech eggplant for the first time. The biotech variety (Bt eggplant) repels or kills the fruit and shoot borer, and Rahman Sheikh is confident that it will make a difference for him and his family.

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In fact, the Bt eggplant has shown close to 100 percent effectiveness in controlling pests. Not only have farmers’ incomes risen through increased yields, but the crop requires far fewer insecticide applications to reduce pests that threaten it.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: PPPs: Planting the seeds of prosperity for Bangladeshi farmers

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