Expand BT brinjal cultivation to get pesticide-free vegetables: Experts

Experts at a farmers’ field day (FFD) have said there is no alternative to expanded farming of pests’ attack resistant BT brinjal to get pesticide-free vegetables for saving public health and earning more profits. The On-farm Research Division (OFRD) of Rangpur Regional Station of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) organised the FFD-2015 on “Research on Effectiveness of BT Brinjal at Farmer’s Field” in village Chalk Singhadanga under Gobindaganj upazila in Gaibandha today (Saturday).Director General of BARI Dr Md. Rafikul Islam Mandal attended the occasion as the chief guest with Chief Scientific Officer of the OFRD of BARI at Gazipur Dr ASM Mahbubur Rahman Khan in the chair.Regional Additional Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Pratip Kumar Mandal, Director of the Tuber Crop Research Centre at Gazipur Dr Md. Jahangir Alam and Member of the Board of Management of BARI Khalilur Rahman Mandal, addressed as the special guests.
Principal Scientific Officer of the OFRD at Rangpur Regional Station of BARI Dr Md. Mazharul Anwar delivered keynote presentation on the chronological progress in field level research and validation activities for large-scale farming of pests’ resistant Bacillus Thuringensis (BT) brinjal.Regional Director of Agriculture Information Service Abu Sayem, Gobindaganj Upazila Agriculture Officer Sahera Banu, scientists and officials of BARI, DAE, journalists, public representatives and 150 male and female farmers participated.Earlier, the participants along with the high officials, scientists and experts visited the growing 21 decimal field of BT brinjal of farmer Abdul Kuddus and non-BT variety brinjal there observed difference between growths of the brinjal varieties.Farmer Abdul Kudus said he has cultivated BARI BT Brinjal-1 (Nayantara) and BARI BT Brinjal-3 (Uttara) on his 21 decimals land spending Taka 12,000 this season and expects 95 mound brinjal output to sale at Taka 75,000 to earn net profit of Taka 63,000.In their speeches, the experts stressed for large-scale farming of BT brinjal that requires no poisonous pesticide or insecticide to bring a revolution in farming human-health friendly vegetables at reduced costs for earning huge profits by the farmers.The BARI scientists introduced BT bacterium using gene engineering technology to get desired DNA character that kills harmful pests and insects while farming to produce eco- and public health-friendly and spot-free clean BT brinjal, they said.The yield rate of BT brinjal is much higher than those of the other available traditional varieties and the farmers will be benefited more and public health will remain safer through consuming the completely chemical poison-free BT brinjal, they said.They said the farmers generally incur 54 to 70 percent production loss of traditional variety brinjal despite applying pesticides and insecticides 80 to 120 times while farming to save the top soot borers and tender brinjal making brinjal poisonous for human health.BSS, Rangpur