Friday, August 27, 2010

Bt Cotton and Suicidies

IFPRI's press release is coy. It's 2 page policy brief is almost as coy, reveling in how widely publicized the study (done two years ago) was rather than what it found and how, but does tell us what the conclusion was and where to find the paper:
We first show that there is no evidence in available data of a “resurgence” of farmer suicides in India in the last five years. Second, we find that Bt cotton technology has been very effective overall in India. However, the context in which Bt cotton was introduced has generated disappointing results in some particular districts and seasons. Third, our analysis clearly shows that Bt cotton is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for the occurrence of farmer suicides. In contrast, many other factors have likely played a prominent role. Nevertheless, in specific regions and years, where Bt cotton may have indirectly contributed to farmer indebtedness, leading to suicides, its failure was mainly the result of the context or environment in which it was planted.

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