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Bt cotton and sustainability of pesticide reductions in India

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Krishna, Vijesh V. & Qaim, Matin, 2012. "Bt cotton and sustainability of pesticide reductions in India," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 47-55.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:107:y:2012:i:c:p:47-55
    DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2011.11.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Vijesh V. Krishna & Matin Qaim, 2008. "Potential impacts of Bt eggplant on economic surplus and farmers' health in India," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 38(2), pages 167-180, March.
    2. Wossink, Ada & Denaux, Zulal S., 2006. "Environmental and cost efficiency of pesticide use in transgenic and conventional cotton production," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-3), pages 312-328, October.
    3. Krishna, Vijesh V. & Qaim, Matin, 2007. "Estimating the adoption of Bt eggplant in India: Who Benefits from public-private partnership?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(5-6), pages 523-543.
    4. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    5. Pemsl, D. & Waibel, H., 2007. "Assessing the profitability of different crop protection strategies in cotton: Case study results from Shandong Province, China," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-3), pages 28-36, December.
    6. Matin Qaim, 2009. "The Economics of Genetically Modified Crops," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 665-694, September.
    7. Qaim, Matin & De Janvry, Alain, 2005. "Bt cotton and pesticide use in Argentina: economic and environmental effects," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 179-200, May.
    8. Akhter Ali & Awudu Abdulai, 2010. "The Adoption of Genetically Modified Cotton and Poverty Reduction in Pakistan," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(1), pages 175-192.
    9. Arjunan Subramanian & Matin Qaim, 2010. "The Impact of Bt Cotton on Poor Households in Rural India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(2), pages 295-311.
    10. Benjamin Crost & Bhavani Shankar & Richard Bennett & Stephen Morse, 2007. "Bias from Farmer Self-Selection in Genetically Modified Crop Productivity Estimates: Evidence from Indian Data," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 24-36, February.
    11. Matin Qaim & Arjunan Subramanian & Gopal Naik & David Zilberman, 2006. "Adoption of Bt Cotton and Impact Variability: Insights from India," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 28(1), pages 48-58.
    12. Badi Baltagi & Seuck Song, 2006. "Unbalanced panel data: A survey," Statistical Papers, Springer, vol. 47(4), pages 493-523, October.
    13. Kouser, Shahzad & Qaim, Matin, 2011. "Impact of Bt cotton on pesticide poisoning in smallholder agriculture: A panel data analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 2105-2113, September.
    14. Subramanian, Arjunan & Qaim, Matin, 2009. "Village-wide Effects of Agricultural Biotechnology: The Case of Bt Cotton in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 256-267, January.
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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. repec:oup:indcch:v:25:y:2016:i:6:p:923-940. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:351-359 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Vijesh Krishna & Matin Qaim & David Zilberman, 2016. "Transgenic crops, production risk and agrobiodiversity," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 43(1), pages 137-164.
    5. Fangbin Qiao & Jikun Huang & Caiping Zhang, 2016. "The Sustainability of the Farm-level Impact of Bt Cotton in China," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 602-618, September.
    6. Islam, Abu Hayat, 2015. "Can Integrated Rice-Fish System Increase Welfare of the Marginalized Extreme Poor in Bangladesh? A DID Matching Approach," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 211792, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. Birthal, Pratap S., 2013. "Application of Frontier Technologies for Agricultural Development," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 68(1).
    8. Chellattan Veettil, Prakashan & Krishna, Vijesh V. & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "Bt Cotton and Ecosystem Impacts of Pesticide Reductions," Discussion Papers 180977, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.

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