GM crop produces massive gains for women's employment in India

Jul 28, 2010
This is a graph showing returns to labor from Bt cotton and conventional cotton in rural India. Credit: University of Warwick

Research at the UK's University of Warwick, and the University of Goettingen in Germany, has found that the use of a particular GM crop in India produced massive benefits in the earnings and employment opportunities for rural Indian women.

The research led by Dr Arjunan Subramanian of WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group) in the University of Warwick found that the use of GM insect-resistant Bacillus thuringiensis toxin (Bt) cotton generated not only higher income for rural workers but also more employment, especially for hired female labour.

Since its commercialization in India in the year 2002, the area in which Bt cotton is cultivated increased to 7.6 million hectares in 2008. Several studies show sizable direct benefits of the technology but no study so far has analyzed the gender aspect of this technology.

The researchers found that compared with conventional cotton the Bt cotton generated additional employment, raising the total wage income by 40 US dollars per hectare. The largest increase is for hired females with a gain of 55% in average income.

This translates to about 424 million additional days of employment for female earners for the total Bt cotton area in India. The researchers found that the Increase in returns to hired female labour is mostly related to higher yields in Bt cotton leading to additional labour being employed to pick the increased production of cotton (harvesting of cotton is primarily a female activity in India).

Dr Arjunan Subramanian said: "We also found that the use of Bt cotton also improved female working conditions as the reduction in the amount of family male labour involved in scouting and spraying for pests meant that that labour was reallocated to other household economic activities, previously carried out by female family members, increasing the returns to this labour category. Overall, therefore, Bt cotton enhances the quality of life of women through increasing income and reducing 'femanual' work."

The research results come from two household survey. The first was undertaken in a study village where the team collected comprehensive data on household characteristics and interactions across various markets. The study village, Kanzara, is located in the Akola district of Maharashtra, the state with the largest area under cotton in India. Interviews with all village households and institutions were conducted in 2004, capturing all household economic activities and transactions for the 12-month period between April 2003 and March 2004. All farm households cultivate at least some cotton, mostly next to a number of food and fodder crops for subsistence consumption and for sale. The second survey used data from a farm sample survey conducted over a period of 5 years.

Explore further: Bioengineering study finds two-cell mouse embryos already talking about their future

More information: The research entitled "GM crops and gender issues" has been published in Nature Biotechnology Volume:28, Pages: 404 doi:10.1038/nbt0510-404

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ARS Survey Helps Growers Track Two Key Cotton Pests

Dec 01, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Cotton growers will be better able to keep an eye out for two common pests because of a comprehensive survey by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at College Station, Texas.

Mali farmers don't want GM crops

Jan 31, 2006

Mali farmers say they don't want trials of genetically modified crops to begin in their nation -- the fourth poorest country in the world.

New fibre testing device gives cotton an edge

Mar 09, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A 'fibre maturity' testing device designed to improve the quality of fibre produced by Australian cotton growers and yarn quality in overseas spinning mills has been licensed to new-start ...

Recommended for you

Cataloguing 10 million human gut microbial genes

Nov 25, 2014

Over the past several years, research on bacteria in the digestive tract (gut microbiome) has confirmed the major role they play in our health. An international consortium, in which INRA participates, has developed the most ...

New device could make large biological circuits practical

Nov 24, 2014

Researchers have made great progress in recent years in the design and creation of biological circuits—systems that, like electronic circuits, can take a number of different inputs and deliver a particular ...

User comments : 20

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

newscience
4 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2010
Weak short sighted science. Bt cotton has been shown to degrade microbes in the soil and reduce humus. What will these farmers do after the soil is damaged because of these crops that are not natural. The soil becomes saturated with the Bt toxin. Patented life and seeds are clearly the wrong direction to be headed and the people that "engineer" them don't fully understand the new findings in molecular biology that shows nobody really understands all the working of DNA and gene expression.
Djincs
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2010
Weak short sighted science. Bt cotton has been shown to degrade microbes in the soil and reduce humus. What will these farmers do after the soil is damaged because of these crops that are not natural. The soil becomes saturated with the Bt toxin. Patented life and seeds are clearly the wrong direction to be headed and the people that "engineer" them don't fully understand the new findings in molecular biology that shows nobody really understands all the working of DNA and gene expression.

And how exactly Bt toxin destroy the soil when this toxin is taken from bacteria that lives in the soil?
All the critisism about this tehnology is funny like this one, to claim that GM is destroing the soil is stuped and funny and only a brainwoshed green head like you can claim this, are pesticides harmless for the soil??pesticides are 10000 times more harmful for the soil than the Bt toxin!
Djincs
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2010
And what is the big deal with this"shows nobody really understands all the working of DNA and gene expression."
For the people who eat GM the important things are is the new plant safe, what are this new molecules that it produse not how the plant is doing it(I am pretty shure this new genes wont expolode at some point)!
And this example with Bt cotton shows how great the tehnology is!When you nutheads will accept the facts!
Djincs
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2010
Jigga
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 29, 2010
GM-corn harvest failed massively in South Africa, it made an unemployed beggars from farmers...

http://www.digita...e/270101
Djincs
1 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2010
No one is saying GM is 100% successfull, the critisism is pure misunderstanding of this tehnology, and the media had contributed of scaring people, and a lots of people have problem with Monsanto not with the tehnology.
Jigga
2.3 / 5 (9) Jul 29, 2010
the criticism is pure misunderstanding of this technology
Nothing in Nature is pure black and white and some aspects of GMO (like the spreading of bacterial toxins or the resistance to herbicides via horizontal gene transfer) offer no advantages at all - only potential or real problems.

http://www.popsci...s-fields

Actually in many cases the usage of GMO offers only temporal advantage, which will be balanced the higher resistance of weeds and pests later. The western companies are just trying to make money on this temporal advantage.
Jigga
2.3 / 5 (9) Jul 29, 2010
The GMO can be useful at the case, when it doesn't affect natural equilibrium, which is relatively rare case by now. For example, it's OK to produce the GM tomatoes with increased lycopene content. Why not, after all...

But it's not so OK to produce gold rice, because its yellow color masks the presence of fungus toxins. And to produce corn with allergenic bacterial toxins killing the bees, bumblebees and bats and spreading this ability to another plants is just a pure nonsense.
Jigga
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 29, 2010
Please note, that my objections are actually invariant to method, in which transgenic plants were produced. If they would be produced with classical breeding, my objections would remain the very same.

It's the interaction with life environment and food chain, which makes the main problems with GMO here - not the technology of their production itself.
Djincs
1 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2010
Furst this resistanse to roundup isnt result of horisontal transmision, you critisists just wish so badly that this is the case, but it isnt, I am sorry, and this resistance occur in places where there is no GMO, this is something natural, pests get resistant to pesticide, and the weed make no exeption(every means of dealing with pests and weed is temporary, everything is changeing), not GMO foult here, second, give me a link about this Bt toxin poisoning the soil pls, why dont you try to read about the pesticide which have to be used if the cotton is not Bt, have you done that I bet you dont, all the critisists are the same funny and ignorant green parrots.
"But it's not so OK to produce gold rice, because its yellow color masks the presence of fungus toxins." welll then you can make golden rice resistant to fungi, thats how the things should be done and they will.
Djincs
1 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2010
The GMO can be useful at the case, when it doesn't affect natural equilibrium

I guess you know shits about natural equilibrium, the agriculture itself efects the natural equilibrium, to claim GM effects it is so funny, the critisism of GMO is all the same hipotetical risks and shits, people just wont bite it anymore, India and China start to develope their own GM, and Europe just dont wont Monsanto to sell here, nothing more thats is all about, and from all this story the people who believe that GM is destroing or harm something are pitiful and know shits about biology or something else at all...good luck with saving the Planet doing what you do!
Djincs
1 / 5 (4) Jul 30, 2010
http://en.wikiped...esticide
"The World Health Organization and the UN Environment Programme estimate that each year, 3 million workers in agriculture in the developing world experience severe poisoning from pesticides, about 18,000 of whom die."
And how many people had died from GMO???
Start with this , there are your great non harmful, much greater and safe, well known from decades with non long term effects, caring about the natural equilidrium pesticides!

But I suppose it is much safer for this wimen to work in a field with pesticide, especially if they are pregnant, Bt toxin is more harmfull for the embrion because it is new and some horisontal transmision can occur RIGHT!
But this isnt important for people like you sitting infront the comp, skratching their ass and talking shits!
newscience
5 / 5 (3) Jul 31, 2010
In fact, genetic engineering has increased pesticide use
see http://www.i-sis....CIPU.php
Djincs
1 / 5 (2) Aug 01, 2010
You silly funny haters there is big difference between herbicide and pesticide, this increas in pesticide use can be right(i dont know for shure this is the case) if you include in the account the use of roundup but this is not a pesticide, weeds are more different from humans compared to insects and it is less harmfull for us.And it is really stupid to defend all or hate all GMO, every plant should be judged separately, they are not going together thats the thing some people(like you) just cant get.
The bt cotton is pure example how helpful this tehnology can be and to deny this it means you are retarded.
newscience
5 / 5 (2) Aug 01, 2010
Monsanto admits Bt cotton failed in India because of
insect adaption. Please see http://timesofind...8716.cms
Djincs
2 / 5 (2) Aug 01, 2010
So what, I have mention it before, pests and weeds will adapt this is called evolution, as they adapt the GM tehnology will create another alternatives, and it is not only pests, the fungal infections are magor problem too(I have lots of vines here and this year I wont get from them nothing because I didnt want to use chemicals, but if GM alternative is developed I will plant it ) , now they surch for wild relatives of the crops resistant to the pests and fungy that affect the crops, no chemicals!Solutions already existing in nature, how that can be bad???
newscience
5 / 5 (1) Aug 01, 2010
Nature does have all the tools required to farm naturally. SAR or Systemic Acquired Resistance is the hottest new area of research in agriculture. Also known as Induced Resistance, plants can be induced by a small amount of pathogen to educate an immune response. Another area of importance to the future of agriculture is endophytic bacteria, and fungus which actually protect plants from pathogenic bacteria and fungus. Also, enhanced classical breeding using marker assisted selection or MAS has a greater potential then transgenic breeding. Part of the problem with transgenic breeding is that The Plant Variety Protection Act is threatened because transgenics are allowed a greater level of patent protection than classically bred plants, which is why corporations and the universities are focused mostly in that area, putting other traditional plant breeding out of business. Patent law needs to be changed or plant variety protection might vanish.
Djincs
not rated yet Aug 02, 2010
I dont say your metods shouldnt be used, I am saying all the tehnology we have and knowledge sholud be in use, not to use GM(this term is not correct because your metods modifie the DNA too) is stupid, then this tehnologyies(you mentioned) are in use (in this or another forms) from decades, if they are so great why we use all the chemicals???What is faster and more reliable , to take the bicycle and to use it or to reinvent it in every crop all over again, and this technics arent reliable you just cant be surtain that every crop will managed to develope resistance, it is like the lotery to weit for the jackpot, and meanwhile people are loosing crops or use chemistry....and ofcource patent protection should exist, this tehnology is expensive you need people highly educated to do it, expensive machines and so on, if you arent to get your invested money why to do it!With the hybrid seeds it is the same you buy it every year and what, no one says nothing about that.
Jigga
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2010
The main problem is, GMO is just another step in trend of mass production of food like technological products of limited warranty and quality - while people remain of the same biological nature, adopted to natural life environment. In this way, farmers and companies like Monsanto just earning the moneys, which are borrowed from limited quality of food and life. We are saving some money for food, while paying doctors for curing of autoimmune syndromes (allergic disease, like asthma or multiple sclerosis) in increased rate.

Before fifty years people didn't kill insect on their fields at all - they leaved quails to eat them. In autumn, the hunted the quails, while obtaining addition source of food. The resistance of plants was kept by intensive graftage and selection by crossing - as the result every village maintained its own apple variety, for example. No need of artificial chemistry existed for liquidation of pest and the damages to forest and land stands were localized.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Aug 03, 2010
Patent law needs to be changed or plant variety protection might vanish.
I don't see a need to protect plant variety via legal patent. Nature would accomplish this task as well as we can force the process in the lab. Transgenics will also produce this aspect given enough time and knowledge of biology.

We're approaching a time when patents will lose meaning. You can't always keep the Djinn in the Bottle.

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.