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Bt cotton and sustainability of pesticide reductions in India

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  • Krishna, Vijesh V.
  • Qaim, Matin

Abstract

Studies from different countries show that transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crops can reduce chemical pesticide use with positive economic, environmental, and health effects. However, most of these studies build on cross-section survey data, so that longer term effects have not been analyzed. Bt resistance and secondary pest outbreaks may potentially reduce or eliminate the benefits over time, especially in developing countries where refuge strategies are often not implemented. Here, we use data from a unique panel survey of cotton farmers conducted in India between 2002 and 2008. Accounting for possible selection bias, we show that the Bt pesticide reducing effect has been sustainable. In spite of an increase in pesticide sprays against secondary pests, total pesticide use has decreased significantly over time. Bt has also reduced pesticide applications by non-Bt farmers. These results mitigate the concern that Bt technology would soon become obsolete in small farmer environments. The survey data on actual pesticide use in farmers’ fields complement previous entomological research.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Agricultural Systems.

Volume (Year): 107 (2012)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 47-55

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Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:107:y:2012:i:c:p:47-55

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/agsy

Related research

Keywords: Biotechnology; Genetically modified crops; Insect resistance; Panel survey data; Secondary pests; Smallholder farmers;

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Cited by:
  1. Kouser, Shahzad & Qaim, Matin, 2012. "Valuing financial, health and environmental benefits of Bt cotton in Pakistan," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126544, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  2. Krishna, Vijesh & Qaim, Matin & Zilberman, David, 2014. "Transgenic Crops, Production Risk, and Agrobiodiversity," Discussion Papers 164678, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).

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