Genetically-engineered crops and their effects on varietal diversity: a case of Bt eggplant in India
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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.
KeywordsBt transgenic crops Genetically engineered crops Public–private partnership Varietal diversity India
Eggplant shoot and fruit borer
Genetic use restriction technology
Research and development
United States Agency for International Development
Willingness to pay
Authors acknowledge the financial support of the Agricultural Support Project II (ABSP II) for the study. Special thanks to the farmers in Maharashtra, who actively participated in the farm-household survey conducted by the research team. Authors are grateful to Dr. Usha Zehr of Mahyco, for sharing with us the field trial data of Bt eggplant.
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