Bt Brinjal Socio Economic Impact

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An attempt to study the Socio Economic Impact of Bt Brinjal on small and marginal farmers.To analyse the suitability of Bt brinjal in Indian context and determine if it will really benefit the farming community.

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MBA 617

Study on impact of Bt-Brinjal introduction on the Small & Marginal Farmer of IndiaProject Report

Akshaya Pandey Chandan Jha Gyan Vikas Tarun Rawat4/23/2010

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Table of ContentsAcknowledgement .................................................................................................................................. 3 Introduction: ........................................................................................................................................... 4 Focus of Study ......................................................................................................................................... 7 The promises and claims......................................................................................................................... 8 Some Arguments..................................................................................................................................... 9 Economic Impact of Bt Brinjal ............................................................................................................... 13 Impact on Individual Farmer ............................................................................................................. 13 Impact on Farming Community ........................................................................................................ 18 Impact on Non-Bt Brinjal Farmer .................................................................................................. 19 Impact on Bt-Brinjal Farmers ........................................................................................................ 20 Impact on Both- Bt Farmers and non- Bt Farmers ........................................................................ 20 Other Related Issues ..................................................................................................................... 21 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................. 23 Bibliography .......................................................................................................................................... 24 APPENDICES .......................................................................................................................................... 25

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AcknowledgementFirst and foremost, we would like to thank to our supervisor of this project, Dr. Rahul Varman for the valuable guidance and advice. He inspired us greatly to work in this project. His willingness to motivate us contributed tremendously to our project. We also would like to thank him for showing us various issues which we could consider in our project. We would like to thank Dr. Bhaskar Goswami, for helping us out with our Queries which we had from time to time. He was also instrumental in explaining to us the entire issue related to Gm food crops and Bt Brinjal in particular. His immense knowledge related to agriculture and allied fields was instrumental in successful culmination of our project.

Finally, we would like to thank our collegue, Mr. Manish Kumar Maurya who helped us with calculating the cost-benefit analysis of Bt-Brinjal and non Bt-Brinjal crops.

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Introduction:In Hindu mythology when the great deluge came and everything was washed away, the then emperor Manu was saved by Gods will and carried himself to the top of Himalayas. In his boat he carried two of each animal on the earth and seeds from every kind of plant. Importance of food in preserving life at planet cant be explained without reference from scriptures. It is the most vital factor why life blossomed on earth. The art of growing food, agriculture, is preserved since centuries. The one thing that has not changed since last thousands of years is Agriculture. It not only provides us food for our living but, carries long histories of civilizations with itself. Even today we use the similar methods for cultivating crops as used in Harappan Civilization. It requires the same seed, water, sunlight as it required thousands of years ago and it gives us same precious food as it used to give then. But, human greed is far more demonic in nature than any other form. Since the day we realized the functioning of our brain, we are in constant pursuit of snatching all the resources from Mother Nature and use it without giving any single thought to other species living in this beautiful world. Today our intelligent brain has brought us to that cross way where we need to make a final decision with the future of this planet. Global warming, melting glaciers, rising pollution level, frequent hurricanes, droughts, fear of nuclear war and many more; the list of our sins are endless. But, the greatest sin is to play with the food chain of this planet. The recent debate on Introduction of Bt Brinjal in India needs to be re-examined in a broader prospect so that its social and economic affects can be gauged without being blinded by the rosy promises of big corporations. Although, this issue is put on moratorium but, it cant be considered as a ban on introduction of Bt Brinjal in India. We have already gone through the arguments from both the sides. Most of the arguments are in the context of its safety and impact on environment. This issue needs to be looked from a different perspective of agriculture economics to determine the strength in the promises made by corporations. For a quick glance through the events please refer to Appendix A. More than 40 kinds of vegetables of different varieties are produced in India. Mainly produced vegetables are brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower, okra, onion, potato etc. The tables below show annual brinjal production in India and major states producing brinjal in India. For a graphical overview of brinjal production in India please refer Appendix B.

5 Area & Production of Horticulture Crops Area ( In '000' HA ) Production ( In '000' MT) 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 Area Production Area Production Area Production 568 9453 561 9678 600 10378

Crops Brinjal

Major Brinjal Producing States Area ( In '000' HA ) Production ( In '000' MT) 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 Area Production Area Production Area Production 26.564 531.28 26.564 531.28 28.5 428.2 55.117 1186.118 54.6 1158.2 54.1 1120.6 62.563 1046.261 55.8 987.7 57.8 933.8 22.675 453.9 19 379.8 17 339.1 155.32 2758.582 153.9 2734.9 152.5 2698.6 322.23 5976.141 309.86 5791.88 309.9 5520.3

State ANDHRA PRADESH BIHAR GUJARAT JHARKHAND WEST BENGAL TOTAL

Area & Production Brinjal for 06-07, 07-08 and 08-091 This table clearly shows that more than 50% of brinjal production is done in five states and four out of five states are considered as the laggard states of Indian economy. These states are highly populous and most of the brinjal is consumed locally. It wont be incorrect if we assume that brinjal is a vegetable of common man in India. A total of 1.4 million small, marginal and resource-poor farmers grow brinjal on 310,000 hectares annually in all the eight vegetable growing zones throughout India. It is an important cash crop for poor farmers, who transplant it from nurseries at different times of the year to produce two or three crops, each of 150 to 180 days duration. Farmers start harvesting fruits at about 60 days after planting and continue to harvest for 90 to 120 days, thereby providing a steady supply of food for the family; it also provides a stable income from market sales for most of the year. Shoot and fruit borer cause serious damage to brinjal fruits leading to low yield. The damage of the fruit starts soon after transplanting and continues till harvest of fruits. This requires frequent pesticide use; in some cases after each three day period. India ranks second in world

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Area & Production Estimates for Horticulture Crops for 06-07, 07-08 and 08-09; Area Production statistics, National Horticulture board

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wide brinjal production but, suffer badly from low production yield due to pests such as shoot and fruit borer. It requires high use of pesticides. Bt Brinjal is a genetically modified version of brinjal that contains a gene Cry1Ac from a soil bacterium called Bacillus Thuringienesis (Bt). Bt Brinjal, introduced by MHYCO, claims to solve the problem of Fruit borer infestation. Bt brinjal and normal brinjal look same but the difference lies in their genes. Only expansive tests can detect the presence of Bt variety. Hence, there have been voices that it violates consumers right, because they will not be in a position to identify whether they are consuming Bt-Brinjal or non Bt-Brinjal. Choice of food is a basic right of every living being. Also, the seeds have a life of their own and once released in the environment, it is virtually impossible to recall them. This is the first genetically modified food to be introduced in India and requires thorough verification. Prior to this, Bt Cotton was introduced in India. Many questions are raised since then about the success of GM variety crops. But, the basic discourse arises when we see the use of both the crops. Bt Cotton is not an eatable crop but Bt brinjal is an eatable crop hence, it requires more caution to introduce such crops. Genetic engineering is similar to nuclear engineering. It can lead either to solving our problems or towards complete disaster of life on planet. We need to study all its aspects before using it. We do not deny from the fact that to eradicate hunger and malnutrition we need better farming techniques but, blindly following any idea does not work well. The implications of hurrying are obvious. We may lose our control on food chain. Also, considering the complex nature of the technology, it may impact the environment in many more ways than we can even anticipate.

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Focus of StudyControversy over Bt Brinjal has been widely reported by media. Arguments from both the sides can be easily found over internet or in newspapers, magazines. Various sites are available from where more data can be obtained such as http://www.csa-india.org,www.iamnolabrat.com, www.greenpeace.org, www.indiagminfo.org. For a common citizen, it

sounds confusing and ultimately his stand on this issue is biased by the kind of arguments he listens to. Being a student of business, social sciences, it is beyond our capacity to comment on biological or, environmental impacts of genetically modified crops. With the assumption that claims made by MHYCO regarding the cost structure, yield etc of Bt Brinjal are true, we are trying to assess its suitability in Indian context. Most of the farmers carrying out Brinjal production are small and marginal farmers, thus it is important to assess the suitability of the Bt-Brinjal for them. We will attempt to analyze it not only on the basis of impact on individual farmers but also the implications of Bt-Brinjal adoption on the farming community as a whole. We will project the claims made by company researchers to our model and analyze what will be its impact on micro level farming. We will try to avoid any issues on which there is lack of clarity such as Health and safety impact, soil impact etc, due to contradicting claims made by company sources and critics.

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The promises and claimsVarious promises and claims made by MHYCO in favour of use of Bt Brinjal are listed below2: 1. It is reported that the average shoot damage in Bt Brinjal hybrids ranged from 0.04% to 0.3% as compared to 0.12% to 2.5% in non-Bt Brinjal hybrids. 2. The percentage of damaged fruits reportedly ranged from 2.5% to 20% in Bt Brinjal to 24% to 58% in non-Bt counterparts. 3. No significant difference was noted between Bt Brinjal and Non-Bt Brinjal, as per the company which did bio safety tests like acute oral toxicity, sub-chronic oral toxicity in rats, allergenecity of protein to rats, germination, weediness and aggressiveness tests, soil micro-biota studies etc. 4. This will help small and marginal farmers from having to use 25-80 sprays of pesticides which are ineffective, says the company. 5. The company claims that human health concerns due to pesticide use can be addressed with this transgenic Brinjal with its in-built tolerance. 6. Company promises that through this in-built tolerance, there would be substantial increase in marketable yields. Higher yields would result in higher incomes for farmers, it is expected. 7. The pricing of the seeds will be based on a cost-recovery model, making it affordable for all farmers, whether the seed comes from the private sector or the public sector, it is promised.8. Farmers will be able to continue to save and re-use their seed for the hybrids and

varieties because of this arrangement, it is reported.

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Bt Brinjal a Briefing Paper; Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, June 2006

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Some ArgumentsIn this section we will present a few arguments which are related to social context of genetically modified crops and their usage. Wherever needed, we will touch upon a few arguments that were earlier made by critics but, that is mainly to make an assumption on which our arguments stand. Considering that the issue is primarily related to its biological impact, it is impossible to ignore these aspects and formulate a study purely on the basis of social impact. The very first question that comes to mind when we think about this issue is that whether there is any need of a genetically modified brinjal in India or not? The table below shows that brinjal constitutes approximately 8% of total vegetables produced in India. Its production is not a small percentage of total vegetable production.Crops Potato Onion Tomato 2006-07 28600 10847 10055 2007-08 34658 13900 10303 2008-09 Production 34391 13565 11149

Production Production

BrinjalCabbage Cauliflower Okra Peas Tapioca Sweet Potato Others Total % of Brinjal

94535584 5538 4070 2402 8232 1067 29146 114993 8.22%

96785910 5777 4179 2491 9056 1094 31402 128449 7.53%

1037868670 6532 4528 2916 9623 1120 28006 129077 8.04%

Vegetable production in India from 2006 till 20093 But, the point mainly missed is that most of the time there are no cold storage facilities for its preservation or there is no industry for its by products. Considering the fact that it is highly perishable fruit, emphasis should be on its preservation rather than over production. Bt brinjal3

Area & Production Estimates for Horticulture Crops for 06-07, 07-08 and 08-09; Area Production statistics, National Horticulture board

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is meant to provide resistance against a particular kind of pests but, it cant provide protection against bad preservation techniques. During peak season, the production is so high that brinjal is sold Rs. 3 a kilo in local markets. Sometimes, farmers have more supply than demand. The news article below shows one such incident that could not get enough attention4: Amulya Pati First Published: 09 Mar 2010 05:23:00 AM IST JAJPUR: An inc...