This post is based on a news item by Deb Carstoiu which was posted on DEVEX on March 30th, 2017.
The eggplant, known in Asia as brinjal, is one of the most inexpensive and popular vegetable crops grown in Bangladesh, ranked only below the potato and onion in terms of total production. It is a major source of income for around 8 million smallholder farmers, and a mainstay in the diet of the nation’s 160 million people. However, the crop is constantly under threat from the fruit and shoot borer — a moth species whose larvae burrow into the eggplant, destroying it from within. If not controlled, the pest can damage up to 100 percent of a field of eggplants and threaten the smallholder farms that depend on it.
Given the social and nutritional importance of the eggplant, public and private sector scientists and farmers have pooled their expertise to find both economically sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to tackle the pest. The came up with the Bt eggplant which has shown close to 100 percent effectiveness in controlling pests. Not only have farmers’ incomes risen through increased yields, but the crop requires far fewer insecticide applications to reduce pests that threaten it.
Through a creative partnership and licensing agreement between private and public actors, the Bt eggplant is available to farmers who can most benefit, with no additional technology fees or royalties payable. In addition, farmers will not only be permitted, but actively encouraged, to save their seeds. The Bt eggplant is according to the author a very positive example of how public and private sector expertise can pull together to meet huge global challenges.
Read the whole article here