The International Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology Research (ICABR)


Impact of Bt Cotton in China


Carl E. Pray, Danmeng Ma, Rutgers University, New Jersey
Jikun Huang, Fangbin Qiao, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China





This is the first study of the impact of genetically engineered crops of farmers in a developing country. A sample of 283 cotton farmers in Northern China was surveyed in December 1999. We found that cotton engineered to contain the Bt gene substantially reduced the use of pesticide without reducing the yields or quality of cotton. This resulted in substantial economic benefits for small farmers. The average farm size in this sample was one half ha. The benefits were also divided between the research organizations, seed companies, farmers, and consumers. Because the government bought almost all of the cotton at a fixed price, consumers did not benefit directly. Farmers obtain the major share of benefits and because of weak intellectual property rights very little went back to Monsanto or the government research institutes that developed these varieties. In addition Bt cotton reduced the quantity of pesticide applied to cotton fields and preliminary evidence suggests that it reduced pesticide poisoning.



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