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Study Overview

Assessing the Impact of Bt Brinjal (Eggplant) Technology in Bangladesh
Study is 3ie funded:
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This study will assess the impact of growing Bt brinjal by rural Bangladeshi farmers on pesticide use, yields, and related outcomes using a randomized control design. Bt brinjal is being disseminated by the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), and coordinated by the Agricultural Policy Support Unit (APSU).

Registration Citation:

Ahmed, A., 2018. Assessing the Impact of Bt Brinjal (Eggplant) Technology in Bangladesh. Registry for International Development for Impact Evaluations (RIDIE). Available at: 10.23846/ridie143

Agriculture and Rural Development
Additional Keywords:
Bangladesh, GMO, biotechnology, eggplant
Secondary ID Number(s):

Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Dr. Akhter Ahmed
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Name of Second PI:

Study Sponsor

Study Sponsor Location:
United States

Research Partner

Name of Partner Institution:
Cornell University
Type of Organization:
Research institute/University
United States

Intervention Overview


The study evaluates the impact of Bt (genetically modified) brinjal. Implementation is being undertaken by the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Ministry of Agriculture. It uses a randomized design with randomization undertaken at the village level. Farmers in treatment villages cultivated a 10-decimal (one-tenth of an acre) plot of Bt brinjal. Control farmers cultivate conventional brinjal on a 10-decimal plot. All farmers were trained by DAE on agronomic practices of cultivating brinjal prior to study implementation. Lead farmers for treatment and control groups were selected in each village, who raised and transplanted the brinjal seedlings on behalf of other farmers. Both treatment and control farmers received an agricultural input package at the beginning of the study. The primary objective of the study is to compare pesticide use and yields of Bt brinjal and conventional brinjal cultivation. Other secondary outcomes of the study are detailed in the Analysis Plan.

Theory of Change:

Brinjal (eggplant) is a high value crop grown by smallholder farmers in rural Bangladesh. However, brinjal is highly vulnerable to the fruit and shoot borer pest. As a result, input costs are higher as farmers frequently dose the plants with pesticides and yields are lower. The Government of Bangladesh has approved for cultivation of genetically modified brinjal varieties (bt brinjal) that are resistant to fruit and shoot borer pests. Within a population of farmers with past experience growing brinjal, we hypothesize that farmers randomly assigned to grow bt brinjal and who receive training in bt brinjal cultivation will understand that they can grow this new variety without the need for pesticides that destroy fruit and shoot borer pests. Consequently, they will reduce their use of pesticides (outcomes P1 and S1). Because bt brinjal is resistant to this pest, ceteris paribus yields will be higher among farmers growing this new crop (outcome P2). Yields may also increase if farmers devote addition labor time to bt brinjal (because production is no longer being lost to pests) but might also be lowered if farmers re-allocate labor to other crops or activities because less labor time is needed for bt brinjal production (outcomes S2 and S5). Gross revenues from brinjal production will rise if yields rise, provided that the increased yield is not offset by lower prices received for the sale of bt brinjal (outcomes S3 and S4). Net revenues from brinjal production will change depending on the magnitudes of changes in gross revenues and input costs; ie this depends on the process that drive outcomes P1, P2, S2 and S3. The hypothesized reduction in pesticide use may result in reduced self-reported symptoms consistent with pesticide poisoning provided these symptoms are responsive to a short-term (one cropping season) reduction in pesticide use that is not offset by increased pesticide use on non-brinjal crops.

Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?

Implementing Agency

Name of Organization:
Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Type of Organization:
Public Sector, e.g. Government Agency or Ministry

Program Funder

Name of Organization:
Type of Organization:
Foreign or Multilateral Aid Agency

Intervention Timing

Intervention or Program Started at time of Registration?
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Evaluation Method

Evaluation Method Overview

Primary (or First) Evaluation Method:
Randomized control trial
Other (not Listed) Method:
Additional Evaluation Method (If Any):
Other (not Listed) Method:

Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:

We purposively selected 4 districts where: brinjal is grown during the winter cropping season, 2017-18; there are well-functioning markets for brinjal; and physical infrastructure is good. Within each district, we obtained a list of subdistricts where villages had a high concentration of brinjal farmers. We listed these villages. Next, we randomly assigned 100 villages to the treatment group and 100 villages to the control group. We conducted a census in each village. In treatment villages, we identified brinjal farmers willing to grow Bt brinjal on 10 decimal plots during the winter season. We randomly selected 6 farmers from each treatment village. In control villages, we identified farmers planning to grow brinjal and who would be willing to grow bt brinjal if it were available. We randomly selected 6 farmers from each control village. We collected baseline data, prior to planting, with details on past brinjal production. An endline survey will occur in June 2018 when the winter season ends. We will cross-check these data against diaries kept by farmers. We will use ANCOVA regression to estimate intent-to-treat effects. See the Analysis Plan for further details.

Outcomes (Endpoints):

There are two primary outcomes for this study: pesticide use and brinjal yield. Details of secondary outcomes are found in the Analysis Plan.

Unit of Analysis:
Farm household, with at least one brinjal farmer per household. All analyses will account for clustering of standard errors at the level of allocation of the intervention.

We have two primary hypotheses that we will test: 1. Bt brinjal cultivation will reduce pesticide use compared to conventional brinjal. 2. Bt brinjal cultivation will increase brinjal yields compared to conventional brinjal cultivation. Details of secondary hypotheses are found in the Analysis Plan.

Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
The intervention is randomized at the village level.
Number of Clusters in Sample:
200 villages
Number of Individuals in Sample:
1,200 farm households
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
Treatment arm: 100 clusters, 600 farm households. Control arm: 100 clusters, including 600 farm households.

Supplementary Files

Analysis Plan:
Pre-Analysis Plan May2018_FINAL.pdf
Other Documents:

Outcomes Data

Primary source: Household survey Secondary source: Farmer diaries
Data Already Collected?
Data Previously Used?
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Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
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Treatment Assignment Data

Participation or Assignment Information:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Previously Used?
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Data Analysis

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Study Materials

Upload Study Materials:
Bt Brinjal Baseline Survey Questionnaire: IFPRI-PRSSP_Bt Brinjal baseline survey questionnaire_English.pdf

Registration Category

Registration Category:
Prospective, Category 1: Data for measuring impacts have not been collected

Completion Overview

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Unit of Analysis:
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Preliminary Report:
Preliminary Report URL:
Summary of Findings:
Paper Summary:
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Data Availability

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Other Materials

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Description of Changes:

Study Stopped