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« Open Access: the View from a Scholarly Society's Journal Editor | Main | Editor of Open Access Scholarly Journal to Speak »

January 18, 2007

Statistics on the Planting of Genetically Modified Crops

Some interesting year-end statistics from CropBiotech showing the rapid spread of biotech crops across the globe as we progress into the second decade of biotech crops. CropBiotech is produced by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA):

In 2006, over 100 million hectares* (250 million acres) were planted in biotech crops. [KN: According to the FAO (2000), there are 1,397 million hectares of arable land, so that means that biotech crops are being planted on about 7% of the arable land.]

In 2006, biotech crops were grown by approximately 10.3 million farmers, up from 8.5 million farmers in 21 countries in 2005. Notably, 90%, or 9.3 million of the beneficiary farmers were small resource-poor farmers from developing countries.

In 2006, 22 countries grew biotech crops, 11 developing countries and 11 industrial countries. They were, in order of acerage: USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, China, Paraguay, South Africa, Uruguay, Philippines, Australia, Romania, Mexico, Spain, Colombia, France, Iran, Honduras, Czech Republic, Portugal, Germany, and Slovakia.

Though the EU countries have traditionally been resistant to planting biotech crops, a quarter of the EU countries are planting biotech including Spain, France, Czech Republic, Portugal, Germany, and Slovakia.

In 2006, biotech soybean continued to be the principal biotech crop in 2005, occupying 58.6 million hectares (57% of global biotech area), followed by maize (25.2 million hectares at 25%), cotton (13.4 million hectares at 13%) and canola (4.8 million hectares at 5% of global biotech crop area).

In 2006, herbicide tolerance in soybean, maize, canola, cotton and alfalfa continued to be the most dominant trait occupying 68% or 69.9 million hectares followed by Bt insect resistance at 19.0 million hectares (19%) and stacked traits, where more than one biotech trait has been breed into a crop, occupied 13.1 million hectares (13%).

Global accumulated impact of biotech crops for the decade 1996 to 2005, in terms of net economic benefits to biotech crop farmers, was $27 billion ($13 billion for developing countries and $14 billion for industrial countries). The accumulated reduction in pesticides from 1996 to 2005 was 224,300 MT of active ingredient, equivalent to a 15% reduction in the associated environmental impact of pesticide use on these crops.

*One hectare equals 2.47 acres.

Posted by Katie Newman at January 18, 2007 10:36 AM