Bt eggplant for Bangladesh and the Philippines

Date: 

2015 to 2018

Summary: 

Eggplant is a common vegetable grown throughout Asia by resource-poor farmers. Eggplant is attacked by a caterpillar known as the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB) and growers typically spray every 2-3 days to control it, usually with little success but with considerable health and environmental harm. Using an engineered plant that expresses a common bacterial protein used by organic growers, these farmers now have a solution that completely eliminates the need to spray for EFSB. We are working with farmers in Bangladesh and the Philippines to use these EFSB-resistant plants as part of an overall integrated pest management (IPM) program.

Issue: 

The issue addressed is the economic losses and the risks to human health and the environment from the current pesticide-intensive strategy to control an insect of eggplant in Asia.

Response: 

Using eggplants that are resistant to the major insect pest in Asia is allowing farmers to minimize their pesticide sprays. Rather than spraying >100 times during the season, growers are spraying only a few times to control secondary pests. Farmers are obtaining economic benefits as well as reducing risks to human health and the environment.

Impact: 

In 2017 there will be >5,000 farmers in Bangladesh who will be using these insect-resistant (Bt) plants. This will greatly decrease pesticide use and increase their profit. One study estimates the benefit to farmers will be >$1800 per hectare.

Submitted by: 

  • Shelton, Anthony M

Researchers involved: 

  • Shelton, Anthony M

International focus: 

  • Bangladesh
  • Philippines