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Chapter 4 The Impact of Bt Cotton and the Potential Impact of Biotechnology on Other Crops in China and India

Genetically Modified Food and Global Welfare

ISBN: 978-0-85724-757-5, eISBN: 978-0-85724-758-2

Publication date: 25 July 2011


Since the 1980s agricultural biotech investments by the public sector have increased substantially in both China and India. In the last two decades there has also been a dramatic increase in private section investment in agricultural biotechnology particularly in India. The promise of major benefits of Bt cotton identified in early socioeconomic studies of Bt cotton has proven to be true. Bt cotton has spread to at least 66% and 85% of total cotton areas of China and India, respectively – wherever bollworm is a major problem. Bt cotton continues to control bollworm in both countries, and farmers continue as major beneficiaries rather than biotech or seed companies. The major impacts have been yield increases in India and reduced pesticides consumption in China. In China, evidence also suggests that Bt cotton has suppressed the bollworm population so that non-Bt cotton growers and producers of other crops that are susceptible to bollworm are also benefitting.

The chapter also provides evidence that in the near future Bt rice and Bt eggplant could have major positive impacts by reducing pesticide use and farmers’ exposure to chemical pesticides and increasing yields. Both crops were approved for commercial production by government biosafety regulators, but are not yet available for commercial cultivation.



Pray, C.E., Nagarajan, L., Huang, J., Hu, R. and Ramaswami, B. (2011), "Chapter 4 The Impact of Bt Cotton and the Potential Impact of Biotechnology on Other Crops in China and India", Carter, C.A., Moschini, G. and Sheldon, I. (Ed.) Genetically Modified Food and Global Welfare (Frontiers of Economics and Globalization, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 83-114.



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