Myth: Farmers who use Bt brinjal will end up bankrupt because the seeds cost more and they become dependent on the technology

Truth: This myth originates from accusations about Bt cotton, which has been extensively adopted by Indian farmers because of its success in resisting pest infestation and thereby delivering better harvests. The truth about the situation in India is that Bt technology has been hugely positive — even where the seed has cost more, farmers more than make up the difference in reduced pesticide costs and better yields. For Bt brinjal in Bangladesh, it is not anticipated that the seed will cost more than conventional seeds. In any case, farmers will be free to save the seeds if they wish. They too should see their economic situation improve because they can reduce expenditure on high-priced toxic insecticides that are currently an unavoidable input for commercial brinjal growers. It is also anticipated that farmers will benefit from better yields due to improved pest control from the Bt brinjal crop. Current estimates are that half of all brinjal production is wasted due to pest infestation that makes the fruit unmarketable. Bt technology is far more effective than sprays in controlling the insect pests because the Bt toxin is expressed inside the plant, where the larvae of the insects are otherwise invulnerable to pesticides applied externally. Overall, it is anticipated that pesticide use can be reduced by 70-90% and farmers’ incomes will rise by an average of 100% due to higher brinjal yields and lower costs. This adds up to a projected net benefit to Bangladesh brinjal farmers of 144,000 Taka (USD 1,800) per hectare.