Economical benefits of BT cotton in Pakistan

Written by Waqas Farooq
  1. Introduction

Cotton is grown in more than 70 countries all around the world. Cotton being a cash commodity crop holds a superior position among other major crops in Pakistan. According to an estimate Pakistan is 4th largest cotton growing country (Economic Survey of Pakistan 2014-15).Cotton plays central role in national export earnings, 1.5 % share in GDP and 7.5 % in agriculture based value added products of the country. In recent crop season the textile industry in Pakistan achieved the maximal figure of export earnings of US$ 10.22 billion. In 2014-15, the area under cotton cultivation was recorded about 2,961 thousand hectare, showing the 5.5 % area increment and resultantly 9.5 % increase in cotton production was achieved as compared to 2013-2014.

  1. BT Cotton

Development of the transgenic plants (cotton, rice, maize etc.) using insecticidal Cry end-toxin proteins from soil inhabitant  Bacterium Bacillus thuringensis has been one of the most significant milestone in applied agricultural biotechnology (Ferry et al., 2006). The BT gene has cry protein that kills only lepidopteron pest and cotton bollworm. The use of Bacillus thuringensis started as biological pesticide about 50 years ago (Qaim & Ziberman, 2003).

2.1 Genetically Modified (BT) Cotton in Pakistan

The GM cotton is almost covering 25 million hectare area globally including top cotton growing countries; Pakistan, India, China and US (James, 2012). BT cotton cultivation is nearly raised from 4% to 70 % cropland in Pakistan from 2004 to 2010 (Ali et al., 2010). The area under BT cotton cultivation in Sindh and Punjab is 80% and 50% area respectively (Ali and Abdulai, 2010).

  • Economic Gains by BT cotton in Pakistan

2.2.1 Adaptability and widely grown

Recent estimates demonstrate that BT cotton is getting popular in farmer community of Pakistan. BT cotton expressing cry 1Ac covers almost 81-90% cotton overall cotton cultivated area in Pakistan (Ali and Abdulai. 2010). It means it holds great economic share overall in our national economy.

2.2.2 Reduction in Pesticide Usage

BT cotton has been proved as highly Eco-friendly and economic transgenic event. A total of, 140 million Kg pesticides usage reduction is recorded in the entire world by growing BT cotton (Naranjo, 2011). In Pakistan, after growing BT cotton varieties a significant reduction in pesticide usage was recorded i.e. 2,555 Rs/Acre and 1929 Rs/acre in Sindh and Punjab provinces respectively. However demand of the pesticides for Non BT cotton was 3,238 Rs/acre in Bahawalpur and 2,636 Rs/acre in Mir Pur Khas (Hina et al., 2010). Another study revealed that BT cotton generates financial outcome of Rs. 8000-9000 per acre in Pakistan. Hence, total saving of Pakistan becomes Rs. 60-63 billion on 7.2 billion acre. It also buffers financial pressure to import pesticides (


  1. Conclusion:

Transgenic BT cotton is very indicative crop for economical outcomes, hence there should be more through-puts on Government and Private scale for the progression and commercialization of BT based crops with safe implications. It will provide better chance to equilibrate between resources and demands of the country.


Names of Institutes and GM cotton varieties in Pakistan

Institutes Varieties Institutes Varieties







1)      IR-NIBGE-901

2)      IR-NIBGE-1524

3)      IR-NIBGE-3701

4)      IR-NIBGE-115

5)      IR-NIBGE-2

6)      IR-NIBGE 3




1)      CEMB-2

2)      CEMB-3

3)      CEMB-12

4)      CEMB-16

5)      CEMB-17

Institutes                       Varieties

Other Private and Government Sectors

1) IR-2403 2) IR-2316, 3) BT-1524, 4) IR-1000, 5) IR-2389, 6)IR-2456,7)ASP-10, 8) ASP-5, 9) ASR-12, 10) ASR-2, 11) ASR-7, 12) BT-446, 13) BT-473, 14) BT-496, 15) CP-140, 16) BT-121, 17) BR-102, 18) BR-103, 19) BT-448/10, 20) MG-1, 21) MG-2, 22) MG-3, 23) FH-113, 24) BT-196, 25) BT-133, 26) BT-Karishma, 27) BT_448-133, 28) BT-101 29) BT 121.













  • Ali, A., & Abdulai, A. (2010). The Adoption of Genetically Modified Cotton and Poverty Reduction in Pakistan. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 61(1), 175–192.
  • Business News, Gold Price, Shares
  • Dr Kauser Abdullah Malik, Member (Bio-Sciences), Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)
  • Ferry, N., M.G. Edwards, J. Gatehouse, T. Capell, P. Christou anA.M.R.Gatehouse. 2006.Transgenic plants for insect control: a forward looking scientific perspective. TransgenicResearch, 15: 13-19.
  • James, C. 2012. Global status of commercialized Biotech/ GM crop: 2011. International service for the acquisition of Agri-biotech application (ISAAA
  • Pakistan Bureau of statistics
  • Qaim, M. and D. Zilberman.2003. Yield effects of genetically modified crops in developing countries. Science, 299: 900-902 [Accessed 15-02-2011],,




  • NIBGE: National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, CEMB: Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology
  • GDP: Gross Domestic Product
  • GM: Genetically modified





About the author

Waqas Farooq