Bangladesh to release 3 more Bt brinjal varieties

Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) will release three more varieties of the country’s first genetically modified (GM) crop–Bt Brinjal, which is infused with a pest-resistant gene.

BARI Director General Dr Abul Kalam Azad made the announcement at a workshop on “Bt Eggplant Research and Development,” at a hotel in Dhaka today.

“Bt technology is not a panacea. It works only against shoot and fruit borer. For other diseases, we must manage using other mechanisms,” he added.

Addressing the occasion, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said that government is ready to accept any advanced technology keeping in mind the safety of the people.

Currently, around 6,000 farmers in 36 districts are cultivating four Bt Brinjal verities— BARI Bt (Uttara), BARI Bt (Kajla), BARI Bt (Nayontar) and ISD006 Bt BARI.

Farmers from Rajshahi, Rangpur, Pabna and Gazipur started cultivating the Bt Brinjal for the first time in 2014. With the journey of cultivating Bt Brinjal, Bangladesh has joined a group of 29 countries that grow GM crops.

BARI Chief Scientific Officer ASM Mahbubur Rahman Khan gave a presentation on “Performance of Bt Brinjal varieties at Farmers Field” and Prof Anthony M Shelton, director of Feed the Future South Asia Eggplant Improvement Project from Cornell University, also spoke at the function.

-Published in The Daily Star.  See original article link here.

‘Bt talong’ has no adverse impacts on nontarget insects, research shows

GENETICALLY modified (GM) Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) talong (eggplant) has no negative impacts on the biological diversity of nontarget organisms, the first-ever field-level study of the effects of insect-resistant Bt eggplants on nontarget arthropod species showed.

The study was carried out in the Philippines by researchers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) working with Cornell University. It has been published in the prestigious open-access scientific journal PLOS One.

The data, collected over three growing seasons in the Philippines’s main eggplant-growing region of Pangasinan, shows no significant differences between the number of insects and other arthropods and species between the GM Bt and non-Bt control eggplants. Anthropods include insects and spiders.

This finding is consistent with previous studies on insect-resistant Bt crops, such as cotton and corn, the study authors pointed out. The study came after the Supreme Court unanimous decision reversing its earlier ruling that temporarily stopped the field testing of the GM eggplant.

The paper is entitled “Assessing Potential Impact of Bt Eggplants on Non-Target Arthropods in the Philippines” and was published on October 31. The author of the study, which was subjected to PLOS One’s rigorous scientific peer review, is Dr. Desiree Hautea, professor of crop biotechnology of UPLB’s Institute of Plant Breeding, College of Agriculture.

“This first published report from extensive field studies of Bt eggplants affirms that the technology is ecologically benign,” Hautea asserted. Study coauthor Dr. Anthony Shelton, international professor of entomology at Cornell University, welcomed the publication of the results.

He commented: “This study confirms the environmental safety of Bt eggplant to non-target organisms under field conditions in the Philippines. Our previous study, published earlier in the same journal, documented the effectiveness of Bt eggplant against the destructive eggplant fruit and shoot borer. Combined, these studies clearly document the benefits of Bt eggplant to growers, farm workers, consumers and the environment.”

The study was funded by United States Agency for International Development, with match funding provided by the University of the Philippines Los Baños and the Philippine government’s Department of Agriculture Biotechnology Program Office (the funders had no direct role in the study, however).

The eggplants used were varieties (purple, long fruits) preferred by Filipino farmers and consumers, with the Bt gene crossbred into them from an original transformation event carried out in India by the seed company Mahyco, which donated its genetic technology to the project.  The field trials were carried out between March 2010 and October 2012.

Bt eggplant could be of significant benefit to Filipino farmers and consumers, the study authors suggest, because conventional eggplant is typically sprayed with insecticide up to 72 times during the 180-day cropping season to control infestation by the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB) pest. Bt eggplant, as a previous study by the same authors has demonstrated, is fully resistant to the fruit and shoot borer pest, so it does not require pesticide sprays to prevent damage by this insect.

Filipino farmers use broad-spectrum insecticides for the conventional control of EFSB, including profenofos, triazophos, chlorpyrifos, cypermethrin and malathion.

In contrast, EFSB-resistant Bt eggplant varieties can be grown by farmers as part of a more ecologically friendly integrated pest management agricultural system.

-Published in BusinessMirror.  See article link here.

Socioeconomic Impacts of Bt Eggplant: Ex-ante Case Studies in the Philipines

Socioeconomic Impacts of Bt Eggplant:  Ex-ante Case Studies in the Philipines

Eggplant production accounts for nearly one-third of the total volume of the top vegetables grown in the
Philippines. Current productivity, however, is about only half 0f the average yield in Asia and the world. Such low
productivity is attributed to the devastating damage caused by the eggplant fruit and shoot borer. In 2003,
research started in the development of a biotech eggplant, Bt eggplant, with built-in resistance to the fruit
and shoot borer. Promising varieties of this biotech eggplant are currently under advanced stage evaluation
for horticultural performance and biosafety.

PUBLISHED BY:  International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications and the SEAMEO Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture

CITATION: Gerpacio, Roberta V. and Albert P. Aquino (eds). 2014. Socioeconomic Impacts of Bt Eggplant: Ex-ante Case Studies in the Philippines. International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), Ithaca, New York, USA and SEAMEO Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines.


This book presents the findings of completed ex-ante studies on the market prospects and potential economic, health, and environmental impacts 0f Bt eggplant in the Philippines. These analyses are complemented by studies on pesticide use, costs and returns of conventional eggplant production, and supply chains In eggplant
marketing. Ali the studies were conducted in major eggplant-producing provinces in the country, and used both primary and secondary data and information.

Projected Impacts of Agricultural Biotechnologies for Fruits and Vegetables in the Philippines and Indonesia

Projected Impacts of Agricultural Biotechnologies for Fruits and Vegetables in the Philippines and Indonesia

The book presents the projected level and distribution of costs and benefits associated with the featured biotech crops based from a series of ex-ante impact assessment studies supported by theAgricultural Biotechnology Support Project II (ABSPII) and the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). The book is co-published by ISAAA and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

PUBLISHED BY:  International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications and the SEAMEO Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture

George W. Norton
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Blacksburg, Virginia, USA


Desiree M. Hautea
Institute of Plant Breeding, Crop Science Cluster, College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines Los Baños, College, Laguna, Philippines


download from ISAAA Website (1.51 mb)