Documentary shows perils of BT brinjal

Cultural Correspondent
BTBegun Bishwad

A still from documentary BTBegun Bishwad, which was screened on Monday at Bishwo Shahitto Kendro in Dhaka.

A documentary film depicting harmful effects of genetically modified BT brinjal premiered on Monday evening at the Bishwo Shahitto Kendro in Dhaka.
Makers of the documentary film, along with brinjal farmers, attended the premiere show organised by a platform called Chhobir Lorai.
The film, BTBegun Bishwad, was made possible through the collaborative efforts of some 30 activists and journalists, among whom are Abdullah Opu, Faisal Rahman, Delowar Jahan, and Al-Emrun Garjon.
The 34-minute film begins with an animated scene of brinjal cultivation and farmers, and proceeds to show interviews of brinjal farmers, sellers and experts.
It shows how the US company Monsanto and Indian company Mahyco, in cooperation with Bangladesh Krishi Gobeshona Institute, have been debasing the originality of the nine types of local brinjals.
In that process, a kind of bacteria is implanted in local brinjals to make them immune to insects so that the farmers do not need to use pesticides during cultivation. And if all the local brinjals have been modified this way, the patent of brinjals will automatically go to those two companies.
Importantly, such gene modification has been banned for an indefinite time in India, and some other nations like Philippine, while Bangladesh is literally importing the technology in brinjal cultivation of the country.
These brinjals have a damaging effect on the human health and environment.
The documentary also shows that the government distributed seeds of such modified brinjals to 20 farmers in 2014 and 106 farmers in 2015. This year, the government is planning to distribute 4,000 seeds in winter.
Meanwhile, the farmers have not yielded good crop using BT brinjal, and they had to apply pesticide for farming even though BT Brinjal was supposed to be insect-immune.
Three of the farmers from Gazipur – Haydul, Mujibul and Baker – were also present at the premiere show on Monday.
Prior to the film screening, they talked to the audience and said that even flies do not sit on seeds of BT Brinjal.

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