Transgenic Cotton Crops in Mexico Benefit Farmers

Share Article

Domínguez Arreola cites increased insect control, fewer pesticide applications.

Conversations about Plant Biotechnology

I say anywhere there is difficulty controlling pests, Bt is a huge step forward and is the best solution for controlling them. It improves production, harvesting and cotton fiber quality, which directly affects earnings.

St. Louis, MO -- Cotton farmers in Mexico first planted transgenic cotton crops in 1996, and have since reduced pesticide applications by more than 50 percent and generated annual benefits of US$27 million. In a brief and exclusive video made available today at the Conversations about Plant Biotechnology Web site, Mexican farmer and agronomist Javier Domínguez Arreola discusses the benefits that he and other farmers are realizing from transgenic crops.

"When I started, there was only one variety that was grown here. Transgenic cotton didn't even exist at that time. We had some serious problems controlling pests," says Domínguez Arreola, who has been involved in cotton farming for more than 25 years. "It was much more laborious. We had to check the crop more often. We had to be more careful.

"But with biotechnology, there is relief or comfort knowing there is protection against certain pests like the pink bollworm and others. We don't have to check it all the time, because … we're certain that the cotton is safe," continues Domínguez Arreola, who plants insect-protected transgenic cotton crops containing a protein from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that protects cotton plants from specific lepidopteron insect pests.

Bt cotton has been a valuable tool for certain areas in Mexico where the risk of crop failure from insect infestation is great. According to a 2004 study by Traxler and Godoy-Avila, Mexican farmers who adopted transgenic cotton crops spent $100 less per hectare ($40 less per acre) on pest control and had $295 per hectare ($118 per acre) higher net revenue than non-adopting farmers.

"Biotechnology has helped us to reduce costs by allowing us to use fewer pesticides - as well as having a significant positive impact on the environment, which is very important today," says Domínguez Arreola. "I say anywhere there is difficulty controlling pests, Bt is a huge step forward and is the best solution for controlling them. It improves production, harvesting and cotton fiber quality, which directly affects earnings."

In addition to this video with Javier Domínguez Arreola, visitors to the Conversations about Plant Biotechnology Web site can view videos with his fellow countryman José Fernando Gutierrez who also grows Bt cotton crops, and with 13 farmers from 8 countries who discuss how transgenic crops have enabled a reduction in the use of pesticides.

Conversations about Plant Biotechnology is designed to give a voice and a face to the farmers and families who grow GM crops and the experts who research and study the benefits of biotechnology in agriculture. The Web site contains nearly 60, two- to three-minute, extremely candid, straightforward and compelling video segments with the people who know the technology best. The Web site is hosted by Monsanto Company -- a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality.

Editor's Notes:

  •     Bt cotton contains a protein from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that protects cotton plants from specific lepidopteron insect pests.
  •     Pesticides registered by the U.S. EPA will not cause unreasonable adverse effects on man or the environment, when used in accordance with label directions.

###

The September 4, 2007 press release by Conversations about Plant
Biotechnology titled "Transgenic Cotton Crops in Mexico Benefit Farmers"
inaccurately converted the results of the 2004 study by Traxler and
Godoy-Avila from dollars per hectare to dollars per acre. The figures
for dollars per hectare are correct. The following sentence from the
press release is revised to reflect the correct dollars per acre
figures:

According to a 2004 study by Traxler and Godoy-Avila, Mexican farmers
who adopted transgenic cotton crops spent $100 less per hectare ($40
less per acre) on pest control and had $295 per hectare ($118 per acre)
higher net revenue than non-adopting farmers.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Ranjana Smetacek
Visit website