Article

Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 3-15

Genetically-engineered crops and their effects on varietal diversity: a case of Bt eggplant in India

  • Deepthi Elizabeth KoladyAffiliated withResearch Collaborator, International Food Policy Research Institute and Visiting Fellow, Cornell University Email author 
  • , William LesserAffiliated withDyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University

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Abstract

Building on the evidence from the impact of hybrid technology on varietal diversity loss, this paper explores ex ante the possible effects of introduction of Bt eggplant on on-farm varietal diversity of eggplant. The public–private partnership involved in the development and introduction of Bt eggplant provides a great opportunity to develop locally-adapted Bt open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) instead of having a limited number of generic hybrid varieties. The study shows that introduction of multiple Bt OPVs by public institutions will reduce the rate of replacement of OPVs by hybrids and thus help in conserving varietal diversity. However, the cost of developing multiple Bt OPVs is high; hence policy makers need to look at alternative measures to maintain the varietal diversity of crops such as eggplant in its centers of diversity.

Keywords

Bt transgenic crops Genetically engineered crops Public–private partnership Varietal diversity India