Genetically modified cotton improves diet quality for small-scale farmers in India

June 5, 2013

Insect-resistant genetically modified (GM) cotton has significantly improved calorie consumption and dietary quality among small-scale farmers in India over a 7-year-period, according to research published June 5 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Matin Qaim and Shahzad Kouser from the University of Goettingen, Germany.

The researchers used data from a survey of over 500 randomly selected small farm households conducted from 2002-2008, and found that growing GM increased farm yields and incomes, enabling these farming households to afford more and better food. Calorie consumption and dietary quality improved significantly in households that grew GM cotton compared to those that did not. In 2002, the proportion of GM-cotton growing farms was small, but by 2008 99% of the farmers surveyed had adopted this technology. Food insecurity was reduced by 15-20% as a result.

Small-scale farming households in Asia and Africa make up a large proportion of undernourished people worldwide. The researchers conclude that although alone may not solve the hunger problem, they may be an important component in a broader food security strategy.

Explore further: What farmers think about GM crops

More information: Qaim M, Kouser S (2013) Genetically Modified Crops and Food Security. PLOS ONE 8(6): e64879. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064879

Related Stories

What farmers think about GM crops

February 24, 2008

Farmers are upbeat about genetically modified crops, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

10% more GM crops in the world in 2010: study

February 22, 2011

The amount of the world's farmland given over to genetically modified (GM) crops grew 10% last year, with the United States remaining the biggest zone for the altered produce, according to a study released in Brazil Tuesday.

GMO corn, soybeans dominate US market

June 4, 2013

The discovery of unauthorized genetically engineered wheat growing on a farm in the US state of Oregon has cast a spotlight on agricultural biotechnology and the debate about its safety.

Recommended for you

Researchers design first artificial ribosome

July 29, 2015

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins ...

Studies reveal details of error correction in cell division

July 29, 2015

Cell biologists led by Thomas Maresca at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with collaborators elsewhere, report an advance in understanding the workings of an error correction mechanism that helps cells detect and ...

Researchers discover new type of mycovirus

July 29, 2015

Researchers, led by Dr Robert Coutts, Leverhulme Research Fellow from the School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire, and Dr Ioly Kotta-Loizou, Research Associate at Imperial College, have discovered ...

Stressed out plants send animal-like signals

July 29, 2015

University of Adelaide research has shown for the first time that, despite not having a nervous system, plants use signals normally associated with animals when they encounter stress.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

theapc
not rated yet Jun 05, 2013
I'll bet the exclusion criteria included suicide.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.