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Crop Biotech Update

IFPRI Research Delinks Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India

February 18, 2011

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) research study "Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India: An Evidence-based Assessment" published in the recent issue of the Journal of Development Studies provides a comprehensive review of evidence on the potential link between Bt cotton and farmer suicides in India. The study finds that there is no evidence of a 'resurgence' of farmer suicides in the country. Bt cotton may have indirectly contributed to farmer indebtedness, leading to suicides, but its failure was mainly the result of the context or environment in which it was planted, reports the study. Some of the critics opposed to Bt cotton in India have, without presenting supporting evidence, alleged that Bt cotton has contributed to farmer suicides in India.

On the contrary, the report concludes that Bt cotton technology has been very effective overall in India. The research article "Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides in India: An Evidence-based Assessment" by Guillaume Gruère and Debdatta Sengupta is available at: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a932842104~frm=titlelink

For more information about biotech development in India, contact: b.choudhary@cgiar.org and k.gaur@cgiar.org.