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Crop Biotech Update

Study Shows Bt Cotton Benefits Women in India

July 30, 2010

The planting of Bt cotton in India has resulted in benefits and employment opportunities for rural Indian women. A study by a team led by Dr. Arjunan Subramanian of Warwick Manufacturing Group in the University of Warwick, United Kingdom analyzed the gender aspect of the technology.

Compared with conventional cotton, the researchers found that Bt cotton generated additional employment, raising the total wage income by 40 US dollars per hectare. The largest increase is for hired females with a gain of 55% in average income. About 424 million additional days of employment for female earners were registered for the total Bt cotton area in India. Data show that the increase in returns to hired female labor is mostly related to higher yields in Bt cotton since additional labor is needed to harvest cotton. Harvesting of cotton is primarily a female activity in India.

Dr. Arjunan Subramanian added that "We also found that the use of Bt cotton also improved female working conditions as the reduction in the amount of family male labor involved in scouting and spraying for pests meant that labor was reallocated to other household economic activities, previously carried out by female family members, increasing the returns to this labor category. Overall, therefore, Bt cotton enhances the quality of life of women through increasing income and reducing 'femanual' work."

See the University of Warwick press release at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/gm_crop_produces/ Subscribers can view the research article at http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v28/n5/full/nbt0510-404.html