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Pesticide Reduction Sustainability of Bt Technology in India

  • Krishna, Vijesh V.
  • Qaim, Matin

The primary focus of the study is the changes that occurred in the pesticide-use structure of cotton production sector of India, owing to the diffusion of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) technology. Studies from different countries show that transgenic 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 are uncertain. 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, data from a unique panel survey of cotton farmers, conducted in India between 2002 and 2008, 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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Paper provided by European Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland with number 114696.

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Date of creation: 02 Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae11:114696
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  1. 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.
  2. 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, 03.
  3. Matin Qaim, 2009. "The Economics of Genetically Modified Crops," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 665-694, 09.
  4. Krishna, Vijesh V. & Qaim, Matin, 2006. "Estimating the Adoption of Bt Eggplant in India: Who Benefits from Public-Private Partnership?," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25311, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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, 02.
  9. 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.
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