By Farida Akhtar / GMWatch – The Ecologist, 5 February 2016


In 2014 many GM Bt brinjal plants either died out prematurely or fruited insignificantly compared to locally available varieties, bringing financial ruin to their cultivators. Photo: New Age (Bangladesh).


Cornell’s ‘no pest’ Bt brinjal project in Bangladesh appears to be going great with 200 farmers signed up, reports Farida Akhter. Only its not – hardly any of the farmers who grew the GM plants in previous years have come back for more after their crops wilted, failed to ripen, or were devastated by pests.

In spite of the failure of Bt brinjal in its first two years of cultivation in Bangladesh, a third round of cultivation is under way.

Very few of the farmers who previously cultivated the GM brinjal (aubergine / eggplant) are interested in doing so again, so new farmers have had to be recruited.

No report has been published on the research findings of the first two rounds of field cultivation of Bt brinjal, apart from some propaganda news articles.

The website of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), which is responsible for managing the project in Bangladesh, is silent on the subject.

In the second round of cultivation, Bt brinjal seedlings were given to 108 farmers, 79 of whom were interviewed by Unnayan Bikalper Nitinirdharoni Gobeshona, the Policy Research for Development Alternatives (UBINIG) staff and found to have experienced massive crop failures.