Bt Cotton Adoption and Wellbeing of Farmers in Pakistan

This entry is cross-posted on IFPRI’s Pakistan Strategy Support Program website. If you’d like more information on the PSSP program, please visit

Source: Flickr (abhisheksrivastava)
Cotton production plays a significant role in Pakistan’s agriculture and economic growth. It contributes about 8 percent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, 17 percent in total employment generation and about 54 percent in foreign exchange earnings. Despite being the fourth largest producer and third largest consumer of cotton, Pakistan did not commercially approve Bt cotton varieties until 2010. 60 percent of the cotton area in 2007 was operating unapproved and unregulated adoption of Bt varieties.

The recent study on Bt Cotton Adoption and Wellbeing of Farmers in Pakistan sheds light on these issues and examines three main aspects:

  • Economic impact on the wellbeing of farmers after introduction of commercially approved Bt Cotton variety
  • The varying effect of Bt technology in diverse agro-climatic conditions
  • Yield gains for farmers according to the size of farm they own. For example, seeing impact on small scale farmers that own up to 5 acres of land versus large scale farmers that possess more than 5 acres of land.

To read more, download the full report at Bt Cotton Adoption and Wellbeing of Farmers in Pakistan


Combating Malnutrition

Donors, governments, and researchers throughout the world are recognizing the dire effects of malnutrition, and the importance of policies and programs to fight it. Programs and research to improve nutrition are coming to the forefront of global discussions on poverty and hunger, and government officials are realizing that simply filling bellies will not fill important nutritional needs for human mental and physical development.

Rice fields in Vietnam
Source: Flickr (© Tran Thi Hoa / World Bank)
The Economist noted “a shift in the world’s approach to fighting hunger”  with an emphasis on improving nutrition by supplying micro-nutrients, not simply supplying additional calories.  Policy programs such as Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) and international institutions from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Bank to Save the Children are helping policy makers understand and combat this “hidden hunger.”

IFPRI’s research is supporting these efforts. IFPRI Division Director Marie Ruel, quotes in the article, explains the complexity and broad approach needed:

“… nutrition can also be improved in all sorts of ways, including by better sanitation, which reduces intestinal diseases and enables people to absorb more nutrients; by investing in smallholder farming, to increase dietary variety; by vaccinating children against diseases; by educating women to breastfeed babies for longer, to improve immunity.

Ruel suggests priorities, saying: “focus on the first 1,000 days of life (including pregnancy); scale up maternal-health programmes and the teaching of good feeding practices; concentrate on the poor; measure and monitor the problem.”

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