Bt Brinjal Socio Economic Impact

  • Published on
    14-Sep-2014

  • View
    119

  • Download
    1

DESCRIPTION

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.

Transcript

MBA 617Study on impact of Bt-Brinjal introduction on the Small & Marginal Farmer of IndiaProject ReportAkshaya Pandey Chandan Jha Gyan Vikas Tarun Rawat4/23/20102Table 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 .......................................................................................................................................... 253AcknowledgementFirst 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.4Introduction: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 10378Crops BrinjalMajor 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 5520.3State ANDHRA PRADESH BIHAR GUJARAT JHARKHAND WEST BENGAL TOTALArea & 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 world1Area & Production Estimates for Horticulture Crops for 06-07, 07-08 and 08-09; Area Production statistics, National Horticulture board6wide 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.7Focus 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, itsounds 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.8The 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 andvarieties because of this arrangement, it is reported.2Bt Brinjal a Briefing Paper; Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, June 20069Some 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 11149Production ProductionBrinjalCabbage Cauliflower Okra Peas Tapioca Sweet Potato Others Total % of Brinjal94535584 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 brinjal3Area & Production Estimates for Horticulture Crops for 06-07, 07-08 and 08-09; Area Production statistics, National Horticulture board10is 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 increased production of brinjal in Jajpur district has spelt doom to its farmers as the high output had brought down their prices. Besides, there is no cold storage for preservation of brinjal and no industry for its by-products. Brinjal is much sought after vegetable during marriage season. Farmers and traders wait for this season as brinjals are bought in bulk by people. But this season, as there has been a huge production of the vegetable, prices have nose-dived. At some places, farmers are forced to destroy the vegetable as there are no buyers. In the local market, brinjal is now being sold between Re 1 and Rs 1.50 a kg due to high output but farmers have expected a minimum profit of Rs 3 a kg. I have stopped plucking brinjal from my farm these days as the selling price is even less than the labour cost. Thus, even though we assume the claim that Bt variety will be able to resist pests to be true, it is not clear whether it will be for any benefit for the farmers or not. The other point that is important to note is the use of brinjal for medicine. Brinjal is widely used for medicinal purposes across the globe. In traditional Chinese medicine, all parts of the plant are used to stop intestinal bleeding. Coming back to India, brinjal is widely used in Ayurveda as a cure for stones, insomnia etc. The brinjals that we eat are usually not used for medicine but, certain wild varieties are used extensively in ayurveda on unani medicine. The effect of Bt gene on these varieties are unclear and we even dont know whether these wild varieties will be introduced to genetic engineering or not. Its impacts are not studied by Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM). Without having any knowledge about transmutation4http://expressbuzz.com/States/Orissa/high-output-pushes-down-brinjal-prices/154653.html11among different verities and its outcome, the introduction of Bt variety cannot be justified. Difference between Bt and non Bt variety can only be possible after extensive lab experiments. Once introduced it will be impossible to call it back. It is unlike pesticides, which can be easily called back from market once their harmful effects are known. We need to ascertain ways so that the gene introduced in verities normally eaten by people do not migrate to other verities or crops. Now coming to the question why only brinjal, why not other crops? If productivity and food crisis is a problem, then why spare potatoes, onions or tomatoes which are more produced and used by common man. The reason can be that by introducing one genetically modified crop, it opens gate for other approvals. If the first crop itself is low on testing front, what is the guarantee that the others which are lined up will be heavily tested? Corporations like Monsanto are more than willing to enter into Indian food market because they know that the spine of any countrys economy is its food chain. Once they have got that nerve right, they will have control over our food market. The outcomes are heavily priced in this case. One should not forget the MHYCO Hybrid Seeds is a joint venture company of Monsanto, which has always been in controversies regarding all agriculture related issues. A subsidiary of its in India is alleged to employ child labour in the manufacture of cotton seeds in India. We already know about the false promises made by the company while introducing Bt Cotton in India. On March 5, the Indian subsidiary of the company announced that its first generation Bt cotton was ineffective against the pink bollworm pest in parts of Gujarat. An internal analysis of the statement of the Ministry of Environment and Forests says it appears that this could be a business strategy to phase out single gene events [that is, the first generation Bollgard I product] and promote double genes [the second generation Bollgard II] which would fetch higher price.5 It is imperative to look this issue as business motives of corporations because the ultimate beneficiaries in this case are these companies rather than the society. In modern India where farmer suicides are prevalent during last two decades, there is a need to free the farmers from piling debts. Introduction of such costly variety of seeds will only increase the burden and if the crop fails because of bad weather or other calamity, farmer is going to lose heavily. The5Monsanto admission' has business motives?: Priscilla Jebaraj; The Hindu, 13 March 2010; http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/12/stories/2010031263690900.htm12gains may be high but, the risks are higher than that in Indian context. Farming is not a stock market trading where you lose someday and gain another day; once a poor man loses his crop, he loses control over his fortune. Organic farming is a better method because it is labour intensive and relies on skill rather than on hefty initial cost. Poor farmers can be better benefitted by multi cropping and crop rotation methods instead of relying on single crop. Organic farming and sustainable agriculture are also based on highly scientific principles. It is based on accurate observations and knowledge about highly complex inter-relationships with nature. The argument that whatever is developed within the walls of complex laboratories is scientific and what is preserved through years the indigenous farmers tacit knowledge - is non-scientific needs to be re-examined. It is important to see the invisible hand of corporate interests in this issue.13Economic Impact of Bt Brinjal Impact on Individual FarmerFor the purpose of assessing the economic impact of introduction of Bt Brinjal on the poor & marginal Indian farmers, we have taken the data from the study on Potential impacts of Bt eggplant on economic surplus and farmers health in India conducted by Krishna and Qaim6 published in August 20076. They conducted a survey of 360 farmers in the states of Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and assessed their socio-economic conditions. Later they used the findings of their surveys and company data to develop their own model to assess the impact of Bt-Brinjal on the Indian Farmers. The brief findings of the study have been given in the table below: Table I: Average eggplant enterprise budgets with and without Bt Hybrids7 Center/South With Cost Distribution Seed Cost(Rs/acre) Insecticide Cost(Rs/acre) Labour Cost for Insecticide 186 4049 11052 17897 106 169 44670 26773 121 5993 11092 23090 157 147 66162 43072 Without Bt. 638 1972 Bt 4642 1282Sprays(Rs/acre) Harvesting Cost(Rs/acre) Other Cost(Rs/acre) Toal Variable Cost(Rs/acre) Marketable Yield(Quintal/acre) Per Unit Production Cost(Rs/quintal) Gross Revenue(Rs/acre) Gross Margin(Rs/acre)At the face level, the findings indicate that Bt-Brinjal is a boon for the Indian farmers. The marketable yield for Bt - brinjal farmer is about 157 Quintal / acre as against the non Bt-6Potential impacts of Bt eggplant on economic surplus and farmers health in India, Vijesh V. Krishna , Matin Qaim, 11 July 2007. Agricultural Economics 38 (2008) 167180 7 Table, Potential impacts of Bt eggplant on economic surplus and farmers health in India; Vijesh V. Krishna, Matin Qaim.14Brinjal farmers yield of 106 quintals/acre. Also, the gross income of Br-Brinjal farmers is Rs. 43072 as against non Bt-Brinjal farmers income of Rs. 26773, higher by almost 60%. Thus, the study makes a very strong economic case for the adoption Bt-Brinjal by the Indian farmers. However, we feel study ignores several important aspects. The first and foremost among which is cost savings due to reduction of pesticide use. As we can see from the above table, the pesticide forms about 12% of the costs for non Bt-Brinjal. For Bt-Brinjal it comes down to about 6%, thus the saving is not really a huge amount in terms of percentage. Also if one considers in absolute terms, it has reduced the pesticide costs from Rs. 1972 to Rs. 1282, a saving of only Rs. 690 / acre. In case of the costs of seed procurement, the costs have seen a substantial increase from Rs. 638 to Rs. 4642. As a result, the percentage of seed cost in the total cost-structure has risen from 3.56% for non Bt-Brinjal crop to 20% for Bt-Brinjal crop. Thus, the total rise in input costs is around 29% out of which the seed cost alone account for 17% rise. Thus, we can see that whatever benefits are being attributed to Bt-Brinjal for reducing pesticide usage and lowering the total cost are not tenable. Considering the poor economic conditions of the farmers and the fact, most of the time they are under debts, it would be difficult for them to bear this additional cost burden. The benefits which farmers get by adopting Bt-Brinjal are only due to lower loss of the product to the fruit borer, thus resulting in the increase in yield from 106 Quintal/acre to 157 quintal/acre. But, in calculating the revenue accruing to farmer, the study has failed to take into account the fall in prices due to higher yield. If one were to calculate the market price per quintal of brinjal by dividing Gross Revenue by Yield obtained(Table I), one can see it is Rs. 421/Quintal in both cases, i.e., for Bt-Brinjal as well as for non-Bt brinjal, which seems highly optimistic due to following reasons:a. Brinjal is a highly perishable vegetable, thus cannot be stored by farmers for long durations. b. Lack of adequate Cold storage facilities for vegetable in India8. Also, even if they were available, considering the fact that its the small and marginal farmers who grow brinjal, they would not be able to afford it.8India: High output pushes down brinjal prices: Amulya Pati, 9th March 201015c.Small & Marginal farmers usually take loans to grow their crops. They are generally short of cash; hence they do not have the bargaining power in the wholesale vegetable markets. Thus, they are forced to sell their crop at whatever prices are prevailing in the market.The net impact of above three factors would be a huge drop in market prices of brinjal. A similar situation was seen in Jajpur recently due to a bumper production of brinjal. Thus, the realized prices by the farmers would be much lower than that estimated in the study by Krishna & Qaim. These lower prices would impact not only the Bt-Brinjal farmers, but also the non Bt-Brinjal farmers. In the Traditional farming methods and organic farming, the small & marginal farmers usually keep their seeds from their previous produce, so that they can use them in next year9. Thus, the seed cost for non-Bt farmers should have been much lower than what has been considered in this study. Another, very critical factor ignored in the study is that yield has been calculated under lab conditions where all the necessary inputs were available. Thus, the underlying assumption of the study is that the farmers have adequate resources to purchase all the necessary inputs required for the Bt-Brinjal crop. Again, due to the poor economic conditions of small and marginal farmers in India, we believe it should not be the case. Hence, the obtained yield will in all probability be lower than the estimated yield. But for the purpose of our study, we will assume that the indicated yield will be realized by the farmer.Considering the above factors, we made some changes in the above cost-analysis and came up with our own cost analysis to assess the economic impact of the Bt-Brinjal on the farmers. Keeping the above factors in mind, we now build in certain key assumptions in the above cost-analysis and develop a more realistic cost analysis to assess the economic impact of the Bt-Brinjal on the farmers.The key assumptions are:9http://expressbuzz.com/States/Orissa/high-output-pushes-down-brinjal-prices/154653.html16a. Farmer stores seeds from their produce and use them for sowing next year. Thus, do not purchase them from open market. Hence the cost of seed should be much lower. We have assumed the storage costs for seeds to be Rs. 100. b. The yield/acre as indicated in the study by Krishna and Qaim6 is correct. c. The almost 50% rise in the produce of brinjal should result in a sharp fall in the prices of Brinjal. We have assumed that brinjal prices without adoption of Bt-Brinjal will be at same levels as assumed by Krishna and Qaim6, i.e. Rs. 421. But in case of adoption of Bt-Brinjal, we have considered various levels of price decline ranging from 25%-50% from the current price levels. d. All farmers adopt the Bt-Brinjal. Thus, we are currently not analyzing the impact of fall in prices separately on farmers adopting Bt-Brinjal and those not adopting Bt-Brinjal.Table 2 below, gives us the modified cost-benefit analysis of Brinjal production after incorporating our assumptions.Table 2: Average eggplant enterprise budgets with and without Bt hybridsWithout Bt. With Bt 40% 50% 25% decline 30% decline decline decline 0 4642 4642 4642 4642 1972 1282 1282 1282 1282 121 5993 11092 23090 157 121 5993 11092 23090 157 121 5993 11092 23090 157 121 5993 11092 23090 157Seed Cost(Rs/acre) Insecticide Cost(Rs/acre) Labour Cost for Insecticide Sprays(Rs/acre) Harvesting Cost(Rs/acre) Other Cost(Rs/acre) Toal Variable Cost(Rs/acre) Marketable Yield(Quintal/acre) Per Unit Production Cost(Rs/quintal) Gross Revenue(Rs/acre) Gross Margin(Rs/acre) Market Price/Quintal186 4049 11052 17259 106 169 44670 27411 421.41147 147 147 147 49621.62 46313.51887 39697.3019 33081.0849 26531.62 23223.51887 16607.3019 9991.08491 316.06 294.99 252.84 210.70Thus, we can see from the that even yield of Brinjal has increased due to adoption of BtBrinjal, the fall in market prices more than offsets the benefits which farmers could have gained by it. A price decline of about 25%, results in Gross Profits to farmer of Rs. 2653117which is lower than the pre Bt Gross profit levels for the farmer. The table clearly shows that at any price decline of 25% or above, the farmer will be making lower profit than before. Also, due to factors such as Brinjal being a perishable item, lack of cold storage facilities and low bargaining power of the farmers, the price decline are likely to be in a range of at least 40%-50%. Thus, we can see that with the adoption of Bt-Brinjal by the farmers, they are in fact in an economically worse situation than before. They are facing a double whammy of higher input costs and lower Profits. We have not considered the interest cost of the loans taken by farmers due to the lack of data on the same regarding the extent of debt and interest rates. The lack institutional credit system in most rural areas forces farmers to go to local merchants, the rates of which are heavier.18Impact on Farming CommunitySo far we have analyzed the impact of Br-Brinjal introduction on the farmers individually. We feel that the study which considers the impact of the introduction of Bt-Brinjal on the individual farmer in isolation ignores several practical considerations. The primary reason for this is that farmers live in a closely knit community. Also, due to factors such as soil, climates etc grow similar crops in a region. Thus, in case of Brinjal, there will not be an isolated farmer, in fact there will be several farmers growing brinjal on their fields. Thus, we have to assess the impact of adoption of Bt-Brinjal by a few farmers on the community as a whole. For carrying out analysis we have considered the following context. There are 4 farmers in the village, 3 farmers shift to Bt-Brinjal in hope for higher yield and higher Gross profits. One farmer remains with the non-Bt-crop due to lack of resources and higher costs associated with the Bt-crops. Our final assumption was that we assumed that company data is correct, Bt-Brinjal is more resistant to Fruit Borer are claimed by the company. We have assumed that fields are fairly close (bordering) to each other, which is correct in the Indian context with adjacent fields. In the image below, The Field marked A is the non-BtBrinjal Field and other 3 are Bt-Brinjals fields.Farmer A19Impact on Non-Bt Brinjal FarmerIncreased vulnerability to Pest Infestation Since, the Bt-crops are more resistant to attack by the Fruit Borer, the field A, would be more prone to the pest infestation, as can be seen in the image below. Thus, the final yield of farmer A would exhibit a decline as compared to the previous years. Hence, his realized income would show a decline. Alternatively, he will have to use lot more pesticides to protect his crops from infestation and keep his yield at previous levels, thus increasing his costs.Farmer AFarmer A, (non Bt-crop) more susceptible to Fruit Borer attack)Seed Security of Farmers Generally, Indian farmer store their seeds and replant them in the next season. With the high risk of contamination by the Bt-brinjal and presence of Terminator technology in BtBrinjal, farmer A can no longer follow the traditional method of storing and using the seeds in next season. Thus, it greatly increases his cost as he has to purchase seeds for next season. Also, it will increase his dependency on the seed companies and he will be at mercy of pricing policies followed by the seed companies such as Monsanto. It also raises questions about the right to choose their seeds from the perspective of Indian Farmers. It is very alarming because the seeds are the most important input of the agricultural production and anyone who controls the seed, controls the food chain10.10Transgenics in Indian Agriculture: Experiences so far and implications of KIA proposals on Indian Farmers: G V Ramanjaneyulu, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.20Impact on Bt-Brinjal FarmersRisk of Secondary Pest Infestation Assuming that the claims of Monsanto, the Bt-crops are more resistant to fruit borer & require lesser pesticides. The Bt-crop farmer is required to spray lesser pesticides on his fields. Though, the Bt-crops are resistant to the fruit Borer infestation, it will be vulnerable to attack from secondary pests. Various secondary infestations exist for brinjal such as Hadda Beatle, Sucking Pests such as Aphids, Jassids etc11. Thus, even the Bt-crop farmers would tend to experience a decline in the yield due to Secondary infestations and ultimately experience a loss of income.Farmer ABt-crop susceptible to Secondary Pest attack.If the Bt-crop growers farmers wish to protect their field from secondary pests, they would still be required to use almost same amount of pesticide as they were using earlier, thus the actual cost savings they realize by using Bt-crops would be far lower than estimated by the various studies.Impact on Both- Bt Farmers and non- Bt FarmersMuch Lower than Estimated Yields With the higher produce of Brinjal, the supply of Brinjal in the market would increase a lot, thus it would cause a sharp fall in prevailing market prices of Brinjal. Brinjal being a11BiologyofBrinjal,MinistryofForestryandAgricultureIndia,DepartmentofBiotechnology.http://dbtbiosafety.nic.in/guidelines/brinjal.pdf21perishable item with relatively short life would tend to compound this issue. Hence the estimated benefits by use of Bt-Brinjal are overstated in most studies as they do not account for this fall in prices. This point has been explained in detail in the previous section.Other Related IssuesImpact on Traditional Ayurvedic Medicines Brinjal is an important ingredient in traditional Ayurvedic medicines. It is used in a variety of preparations. As per the report, Bt Brinjal Primer, by CEE, In Ayurveda around 14 varieties of the brinjal are being used for medicinal preparations. Each one differs in its medicinal properties.12 Quoting a line from the report 10 reasons to say no to Bt-Brinjal: Bt Brinjal has not been assessed for its impact on Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM).Brinjal and related species are used widely in Ayurveda and other medicinal systems. One can hence not predict whether the entry of Bt Brinjal would make ISM medicines/practices ineffective or even toxic!13 The above statement clearly highlights that with introduction of Bt-Brinjal, the Ayurvedic industry will be in a state of uncertainty regarding its inputs used in preparation and their impact on the medicines. Thus, we also run the risk of losing a tidy niche Ayurvedic market. Pest Resistance According to Dr. Bhaskar Goswami, a renowned agriculture and trade policy analyst, Btcrops do not enhance productivity of crop or soil. They only increase the resistance of the crops to pests. Since, with time the pests will become resistance to the Bt-crops as well; the increased yield would decline after a few years. Thus, there are no real long term benefits to the farmers for the adoption of Bt-Brinjal.Loss of Bio Diversity India is a centre of origin and diversity of brinjal which has been cultivated here for over 4000 years. There are about 2000 varieties grown across India. The transgene transfer to local and hybrid varieties of brinjal will effectively destroy our brinjal diversity. As a general rule GM crops should not be cultivated in the centre of origin as it could lead to the loss of original varieties by transgenic cross pollination12.1210 Reasons for you to say NO to Bt Brinjal http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/1-news-items/11765-ten-reasonsBt-Brinjal: The Truth Behind it http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/BtBrinjalBriefingbooklet.pdfto-say-no-to-bt-brinjal1322The genetic diversity is important because some of the strains will be naturally resistant to lethal pathogens and 21 pests that may destroy the crops in the future. Once lost, this lack of diversity can lead to the complete loss of the crop12.Contamination Risks Organic farmers would be at risk as there is no mechanism by which contamination by the Bt-Brinjal could be stopped. The basic idea being floated by Monsanto that some minimum distance needs to be maintained between the adjacent fields is not at all practicable in India due to small & clustered land holdings in India. Consequently, it would result in Organic farmers losing their Organic Certification and potential markets such as Ayurvedic medicine etc. Co-Existence between the Bt-Brinjal farmers and non Bt-Brinjal famers does not seem to be a possibility here. De-skilling of farming communities Seed-related decisions in farming should be based on local conditions and resources available with the farmers. Over the centuries, farmers have made many innovations in relation to Brinjal thus resulting in over 4000 varieties of Brinjal in our country each having different taste and variety. Also, there varieties are hardy and suited to the local conditions. Such innovations will get stifled due to the introduction of Bt Brinjal and existing IPR regime which will prevent farmers from reusing the seeds and making any changes to them.23ConclusionIntroduction of Bt-Brinjal is a very sensitive issue with number of people in support of it and many against it. There are several concerns related to it such as its impact on environment, health effects on people etc. One line of thought even claimed that there is surplus brinjal production in India; hence there is no real need for tampering with the existing methods of production. From our analysis, we can clearly see that introduction of Bt-Brinjal will have little positive impact on the small & marginal farmers. In fact, it will result in much higher input prices which the farmers may find it difficult to bear. The costs savings regarding pesticide usage are not really tenable arguments as they contribute a small percentage of total costs. Also, due to higher yield, it will lead to a situation of supply glut resulting in a huge fall in market price levels of Brinjal. From our cost-analysis model, we are able to clearly see that after adoption of Bt-Brinjal by farmers, any fall in prices by 25% or more, will reduce the Gross Profits of the farmers. This coupled with the higher input prices will act as a double whammy on the farmers who adopt Bt-Brinjal production, thus putting him in a worse economic situation than before. In case of farmers who do not adopt Bt-Brinjal, it will result in lower prices for their current yield, thus impacting their profits as well. There are externalities on the non Bt-Brinjal farmers in the form of contamination, inability to reuse their seeds, increased pest attacks etc. The issue of contamination is serious as it severely affects the other forms of agriculture such as Organic Farming etc, thus, violating the Right to Choose for the farmers as well as Consumers. Apart from these there are huge concerns about impact on biodiversity, increased dependence on Monsanto, Pest resistance and Contamination of non BT-crops which will impact us in many other complex ways. Even our traditional forms of Medicine such as Ayurveda are adversely affected by introduction of Bt-Brinjal. Thus to conclude, we feel Bt-Brinjal does not offer any real benefits to our small and marginal farmers. There is no real incentive to expedite its introduction as it is not something that farmers have demanded. All major farmers' organizations of the country have already rejected it by large scale protests across the country.24Bibliography1. Area & Production Estimates for Horticulture Crops for 06-07, 07-08 and 08-09; Area Production statistics, National Horticulture board 2. Bt Brinjal a Briefing Paper; Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, June 2006 3. India: High output pushes down brinjal prices: Amulya Pati, 9th March 2010 4. Monsanto admission' has business motives?: Priscilla Jebaraj; The Hindu, 13 March 2010; 5. Potential impacts of Bt eggplant on economic surplus and farmers health in India, Vijesh V. Krishna , Matin Qaim, 11 July 2007. Agricultural Economics 38 (2008) 6. Transgenics in Indian Agriculture: Experiences so far and implications of KIA proposals on Indian Farmers: G V Ramanjaneyulu, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture. 7. Biology of Brinjal, Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture India, Department of Biotechnology. 8. 10 Reasons for you to say NO to Bt Brinjal http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/1-news-items/11765-ten-reasons-to-say-no-tobt-brinjal 9. Bt-Brinjal: The Truth Behind it http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/BtBrinjalBriefingbooklet.pdf25APPENDICESAPPENDIX A: A short History of Bt Brinjal26Appendix B: Geographical Spread of Brinjal Growing AreaSolid shading indicates a traditional brinjal growing area while light feathering indicates sparsely spread area under brinjal. Source: Biology of Brinjal, Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture India., Department of Biotechniology. http://dbtbiosafety.nic.in/guidelines/brinjal.pdf

Recommended

View more >