Bt Brinjal – Destroying the Anti-GMO Narrative — Steven Novella
The story of Bt brinjal in Bangladesh is perhaps and even more dramatic example, and is farther along in development. Bt brinjal (eggplant) varieties were developed by several universities. In 2014 Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) released four Bt brinjal varieties that had completed years of field trials showing that they were safe and viable.
Seeds were given to farmers who, by many accounts, are thrilled with the results. Brinjal is a staple in the region. Typically a farmer might expect 40% of their crop to be lost to pest damage. They have to spray heavy doses of insecticide 140-180 times throughout the growing season, as often as several times per week.
Farmers growing the Bt varieties report a dramatic reduction in pesticide use by over 80% and virtually no crop loss to pests. The plants are healthy and productive.
This is a disaster for the anti-GMO narrative. Monsanto is no where to be seen, nor are any big ag corporations. There are no patents, the plants reduce pesticide use, and the farmers are happy.
The government gives seeds away for free, or for ridiculously low prices. The anti-science crowd can’t call out Big Agra. The eggplant losses due to pests have dropped off a cliff, all while reducing pesticides by up to 80%. The anti-science crowd can’t point to increased pesticides.
What does the anti-science crowd do? Change the narrative. They attack any reporter who simply repeats what the farmers say.