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An earlier example was dealt with here. The stakes are admittedly high here: The powerful anti-GMO lobby knows that if Bangladeshi farmers successfully adopt this new crop, other GMO crops in the pipeline such as Golden Rice also being developed in Bangladesh will be advantaged and their cause of banning the technology permanently will be harmed.
It is online here. The report is very specific, quoting farmer Mansur Sarkar, who is supposedly furious at the non-performance of his Bt brinjal crop. Sarkar is one of 20 farmers in 4 regions of Bangladesh who are growing the first generation of Bt brinjal.
The rationale for the new variety is very simple — it is resistant to the endemic pest called fruit and shoot borer by carrying the Bt gene, and therefore requires drastically less pesticide than is conventionally applied by farmers to brinjal. Here is a particular allegation from the New Age: During a spot visit on Monday at four Bt brinjal fields in Gazipur, New Age found that Bt brinjal plants faced several troubles — they did not grow up and came under attack of different pests including shoot borers.
International media is already interested in this story, and Twitter has come alive with retweets from anti-GM activists with the New Age article.
However, it is entirely false. I myself, along with various scientists and others from Cornell University and the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, visited the same farm a day earlier and found the crop in good health and the farmer happy.
Here are the photos to prove it: Above is the farmer Sarkar with neighbours. Above — Sarkar with his family.
Myself in discussions with Sarkar and project participants. Healthy Bt brinjal entirely protected against fruit and shoot borer. Sarkar confirmed that he had only sprayed once to control sucking pests when the plants were younger and more vulnerablewhereas neighbours growing brinjal are spraying twice a week and even every day.
Conventional brinjal farmers can spray times during the season. Pesticide residues will therefore be much lower on the Bt brinjal crop. Farmer Sarkar demonstrating fruit and shoot borer infestation in the control crop. This is a non-Bt brinjal which has been planted around the outside for comparative purposes and also as a pest refuge.
It is likely that journalists visiting the site would not have known the difference and would have concluded that Bt brinjal has failed. I am writing this in a traffic jam in Dhaka. I have also visited a NW region of Bangladesh, Rangpur, where five more farmers have planted Bt brinjal, and will post videos and photos from this trip within the next couple of days.
In the meantime, I hope that any international media coverage will be based on the real situation and not on fictional accounts planted in the Bangladeshi press by those with a negative and indeed potentially pro-pesticide agenda.
Most worrying of all, several of the farmers I visited in Rangpur had earlier been visited by an anti-GMO activist posing as a journalist who told them that if their children ate Bt brinjal they would become paralysed.
I will post video testimony of these farmers telling their stories very soon. This is why the Agriculture Minister recently asked whether the anti-GMO activists were receiving money from insecticide manufacturers. The antis in Bangladesh have begun a campaign against me.EDUC Outdoor Environmental Education in Theory, Policy and Practice: Days: MWF Time: pm pm Room: ARTCOM Instructor: Dosch, Kurth-Schai Avail./Max.: 7 / 16 *One of our primary course objectives is to offer quality outdoor environmental learning experiences for .
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