Myth: Bt brinjal will destroy biodiversity

Truth: Promoters of this myth typically confuse ‘biodiversity’ in its true natural sense of wild animals and plants with the agricultural diversity of cultivated crops. For the latter, Bt and conventional brinjal can be grown by farmers according to preference without one eliminating the other. The project partners involved in Bt brinjal all agree that the protection of agricultural genetic diversity is important. Programmes exist to ensure that traditional land race varieties of brinjal are not lost even though farmers may be unwilling to continue using them because of lower yields. As regards natural biodiversity, scientists have shown that the use of Bt in other crops like cotton increases biodiversity rather than reduces it. This is because farmers need to use far less insecticide to protect the crop against pest infestation. Because farmers are not spraying toxic chemicals, this protects beneficial insects and other animals higher up the food chain. It also protects biodiversity by reducing pesticide runoff into waterways and soils. Extensive tests conducted in multiple locations by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute between 2010 and 2013 showed no negative impacts on non-target insects or soil microflora caused by Bt brinjal.