Impact of bt-cotton on the farmers' livelihood system in china
- English abstract
- In order to analyze the impacts of Bt cotton on the farmers’ livelihood system, we interviewed 169 farmers and extension personnel in the main cotton production areas in Hebei province in the year 2002 and 2003. An integrative method was used in which a multidisciplinary approach was employed including agronomy, economics and sociology. The results showed that the application of Bt cotton increased the cotton growing area as well as farmers' income. For 67% of the farmers interviewed, cotton area has been continuously increasing since 1997. The cotton net margin in one cropping cycle came out to be higher than the combined net margins of wheat and corn in two cropping cycles. The income from cotton played a significant role in the investment to education, leisure and health care. The socio-economic impacts of cotton production are nevertheless not yet optimal because there were still many factors limiting them. Lack of labor and land were the main limiting factors. Productivity is restrained by the high price of Bt cotton seeds which pushed farmers to keep seeds from their own cotton production (42% of the farmers in 2002 and 2003). Farmers are still lacking technical command in using Bt-cotton: 78% of the farmers admitted, while more than 94% of the farmers complained not getting information from local extension and technical services. More success in using Bt-cotton calls upon going beyond providing seeds and asks for continuous assistance from research and extension department, notably to achieve a full knowledge of the Bt-cotton characteristic so as to optimally integrate it into the farmers’ system.