International Food Policy Research Institute
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is based in Washington DC. It says it
- seeks sustainable solutions for ending hunger and poverty. IFPRI is one of 15 centers supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), an alliance of 64 governments, private foundations, and international and regional organizations.
IFPRI and Bt cotton in India
The widespread failure of the genetically modified Bt cotton crop in India, and the resulting burden of debt among poor cotton farmers, has been blamed by many, Prince Charles among them, for being a major cause of thousands of farmer suicides.
The link between farmer suicides and Bt cotton has been disputed by a 2008 report from the (consistently pro-GM) IFPRI. An article in the (UK) Guardian titled "Indian farmer suicides not GM related, says study" proclaimed, "Suicides among Indian farmers have not increased as a result of the introduction of GM crops, according to a large scientific study."
The Guardian article quotes the report to the effect that "There is no evidence in available data of a 'resurgence' of farmer suicide in India in the last five years" (Monsanto's Bt cotton was introduced into India in 2002).
However, the full report, for those who take the trouble to read it, tells a different story from the one that was spun to the media. The authors admit that the data is simply not available that would allow conclusions as to the numbers of Bt cotton farmers who have committed suicide: "None of the reported data sources on farmer suicide provide information about the concerned farmers' characteristics."
In fact, there are not even numbers on how many of the Indian farmers who have killed themselves grew cotton, let alone Bt cotton, or on how many farmers committed suicide after their crops failed. The IFPRI authors admit their findings do not allow them to "reject the potential role of Bt cotton varieties in the observed discrete increase in farmer suicides in certain states and years".
- IFPRI (2012) About Us, IFPRI website, acc 20 Jul 2012
- Andrew Malone, “The GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified crops” Daily Mail, 3 November 2008, accessed November 2008
- James Randerson, "Indian farmer suicides not GM related, says study", The Guardian, 5 November 2008, accessed November 2008
- Guillaume P. Gruère, Purvi Mehta-Bhatt, Debdatta Sengupta, "Bt Cotton and Farmer Suicides: Reviewing the Evidence", IFPRI Discussion Paper 00808, International Food Policy Research Institute, October 2008, p. 26, accessed November 2008