Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury on Thursday said Bt technology used in the genetically modified crop Bt brinjal is only good against brinjal shoot and fruit borer, not a panacea for all diseases to the crop.
“The other sucking insects, including white fly, and disease like bacterial will need to be managed in Bt brinjal fields, she said. The agriculture minister said this while speaking at a workshop on ‘Bt Eggplant Research and Development’ at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden.
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute and Feed the Future South Asia Eggplant Improvement Project of USAID jointly organised the workshop.
Matia Chowdhury said Bangladesh being a densely populated country with limited land is vulnerable to climate change due to its geographical location. The biotech applications to agriculture could boost food production for the increasing number of people.
“Our government is ready to accept any advanced technology. We will be guided by science-based information, not by nonscientific whispering of section of people,” she said.
The minister urged the scientists to work silently with dedication in the area of biotechnology without much propaganda and self-benefit.
She recalled that since the introduction of Bt brinjal in 2014 at the fields of 20 farmers, the GM crop was now being grown by at least 5500 farmers in 2017. They were growing Bt brinjal at their fields with the help of BARI and department of agricultural extension.
Presided over by secretary in charge of agriculture ministry Mohammad Nazmul Islam, the workshop was also addressed by director general of Department Agricultural Extension, project director at Cornell University Prof Anthony M Shelton, and USAID director Matt Curtis.