All farmers face concerns and challenges when trying to grow crops for a high-quality harvest, such as diseases, insect pests and preventing pest resistance to control methods. To address the latter, in July 2015, the Council for Biotechnology Information in Brazil (CiB Brazil in Portuguese) launched the Insect Resistance Management (IRM) program, Best Practices on Bt Crops (BOAS). This farmer education program is aimed at about 100,000 growers working with insect resistant biotech soybean, maize and cotton. It is coordinated with the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee Brazil, which provides technical recommendations. BOAS encourages farmers to follow best practices such as:
- Planting certified seeds;
- Monitoring fields for insects;
Controlling weed and invasiveplants in fields becausethey attract more insects;
- Implementing refuge areas.
CiB Brazil has been particularly focused on outreach efforts to encourage the adoption of refuge areas — a non-biotech border or strip around a field of insect-resistant biotech crops. Refuges can prevent insect resistance to the biotech crop by keeping the genetic pool mixed among insect pests. For soybean and cotton, the plant biotech industry recommends a refuge of 20 percent of total acres, and for maize, 10 percent.
CiB Brazil has also partnered with several organizations to amplify messages about the importance of IRM and refuge adoption — from collaborating with the Brazilian government to grower groups. The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture worked with CiB Brazil to develop a website on refuge for insect-resistant biotech crops and develop technical information on best practices.
Impact of BOAS