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Bt eggplant, Bangladesh’s first GMO crop, controls ‘vicious’ fruit and shoot borer pest, boosts farmer profit sixfold

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Eggplant, or brinjal (Solanum melongena), is a popularly consumed vegetable grown throughout Asia that is prone to vicious and sustained attack by the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB) (Leucinodes orbonalis) throughout the growing season. Yield losses in Bangladesh because of EFSB infestation have been reported as high as 86%.

Farmers reduce crop losses by frequent applications of insecticide. To counter the EFSB pest, Bangladesh has developed and released four Bt brinjal varieties expressing Cry1Ac (Bt brinjal). Bangladesh is the first developing country to release a commercial genetically engineered (GE) food crop.

In this article, we discuss the development and adoption of Bt brinjal in Bangladesh from initial distribution to 20 farmers in 2014 to cultivation by more than 27,000 farmers in 2018. Bt brinjal provides essentially complete control of EFSB, dramatically reduces insecticide sprays, provides a sixfold increase in grower profit, and does not affect nontarget arthropod biodiversity. A major focus is to ensure its durability through stewardship. Bangladesh has shown great leadership in adopting biotechnology for the benefit of its farmers and serves as an example for other countries.

Related article:  Indian farmers grow illegal insect-resistant Bt eggplant to control destructive pests, as government lags on approval

Read full, original article: Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh: The First Genetically Engineered Food Crop in a Developing Country (Behind Paywall)

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