A record 14 million farmers in 25 countries are now using agricultural biotechnology, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA).
The ISAAA report, The Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2009, says 90 percent (13 million) of these are resource-poor farmers in developing countries.
"The annual ISAAA report is proof positive that the global adoption of biotech crops – especially corn, soybeans, cotton and canola – increases each year as more and more farmers gain access to this technology," said Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, executive vice president, food and agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
"Agricultural biotechnology provides solutions for today's farmers in the form of plants that are more environmentally friendly while yielding more per acre, resisting diseases and insect pests and reducing farmers' production costs.
"When you look at the rising number of acres of biotech crops planted each year (330 million in 2009 compared with 309 million in 2008), and the increasing number of farmers who have chosen this technology (14 million in 2009 compared with 13.3 million in 2008), it's obvious that biotech crops are delivering value to more and more growers around the world," she added.
In the U.S. more than 158 million acres of biotech crops were planted in 2009, and the United States remains the top country in terms of biotech acreage. The primary biotech crops grown in the United States are corn, cotton, canola and soybeans, but also squash, papaya, alfalfa, and sugarbeet.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has predicted that feeding a world population of 9.1 billion people in 2050 will require raising overall food production by some 70 percent (nearly 100 percent in the developing countries), according to Lauritsen.
"The findings of this report prove that biotechnology is a key solution in meeting the growing demand to feed, fuel and heal the world."