Eggplant is a staple in vegetarian diets throughout South Asia, and one of the cheapest vegetables to procure by resource-poor communities in Bangladesh, but a large percentage of the crop does not make it to the market because of eggplant fruit and shoot borer, EFSB infestation.
In little over four years’ time nearly a fifth of Bangladeshi eggplant farmers are now cultivating – Bt brinjal – a pest-resistant eggplant, making it one of the fastest adopted biotech crops ever.
In January 2014 Bangladesh was the first country in South Asia to introduce genetically modified (GM) brinjal in the region.
This year, four Bt brinjal varieties reached 27,012 farmers across the country, which constitute roughly 18 percent of Bangladesh’s estimated 150,000 brinjal growers.
Net returns per hectare were $2,151 per hectare for Bt brinjal as compared to $357 per hectare for non-Bt brinjal, a six-fold difference. farmers saved 61 percent of the pesticide cost compared to non-Bt brinjal farmers, experienced no losses due to EFSB
EFSB ravages brinjal fields and can cause loss of the crop by as much as 70 percent unless a heavy dose of pesticide is used. Scientists engineered local varieties of brinjal by inserting a gene (Cry1Ac) taken from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, known as Bt, back in 2005. Bt gene insertion in brinjal made it resistant to EFSB.
Source : geneticliteracyproject
Published on: August 29, 2018