Bangladesh: Farmers say No to Genetically Modified Vegetables

January 13, 2014 0 Comments

GM eggplant promoted by Mahyco-Monsanto. Intellectual Property owned by Monsanto

Plans to introduce a controversial GM variety of brinjal (aubergine / eggplant) in Bangladesh are opposed by 100 civil society organisations around the world.  As Mae Wan Ho reports, the issue is arousing powerful passions …

Bt-Brinjal will have negligible benefit but would present an enormous hazard to human health. It would be profound disservice to Bangladesh if Bt-Brinjal were allowed to enter her food supply.

100 civil society organisations have written to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to oppose the commercialisation of a genetically modified (GM) eggplant.

Known locally as Bt-Brinjal, the GM eggplant contains a synthetic insect-killing toxin similar to Cry1Ac from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (hence the acronym Bt) targeted at the fruit and shoot borer.

Bt toxins are already known to have many off-target effects, including toxicity to beneficial pest predators, animals and human cells.

The Bt-Brinjal approved for commercial growing in Bangladesh last November originated from Mahyco-Monsanto, but the varieties approved were developed by scientists in Bangladesh. The company tried to commercialize Bt Brinjal in India several years ago and failed.

[“Mahyco licensed and used the cry1Ac gene obtained from Monsanto and two supporting genes (nptII and aad)”]