Biotech Updates

PNAS Reports Socio-economic Impact of Bt Cotton in India

July 6, 2012

The findings of a recent study published in the July 2 issue of the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) analyzing economic impacts and impact dynamics of Bt cotton in India reports that Bt cotton has contributed 24% increase in cotton yield per acre through reduced pest damage and a 50% gain in cotton profit among smallholders. The researchers Jonas Kathage and Matin Qaim of the Georg-August University of Goettingen determined that household living standard increased by 18 percent during the 2006–2008 period among Bt cotton farmers once the growers realized that the profit gains are sustainable. The gains have made a substantial positive impact and improved the livelihoods of small-scale farmers more than conventional varieties. The study examined 533 cotton-growing families between 2002 and 2008 in four principal cotton-producing states in India.

Compared with conventional farmers, Bt cotton growers are "increasing their effective yields because of lower crop damage," Qaim says. "And that leads to higher family incomes and that leads to higher living standards, [which] leads to escape from poverty."

The abstract of the study is available at and full text is available at Supporting information available at Correspondence may be addressed at or

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