Because of its contribution to agricultural productivity and sustainable farming, growers around the world continue to choose biotech crop varieties according to a report released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA). The ISAAA report, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2010, says a record 15.4 million farmers in 29 countries are growing biotech crops on 366 million acres.
According to the report’s executive summary, “a record 87-fold increase in hectarage between 1996 and 2010 makes biotech crops the fastest adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.”
Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, executive vice president, Food and Agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement in response to the report’s findings: “The 2010 ISAAA report proves once again that the global adoption of biotech crops – especially corn, soybeans and cotton – is on the rise as more and more farmers gain access to this beneficial technology. The productivity gains from biotechnology, for example, is enabling our world’s farmers to better feed a global population.
“Agricultural biotechnology provides solutions for today’s growers 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 (366 million in 2010 compared with 330 million in 2009), and the increasing number of farmers who have chosen this technology (15.4 million in 2010 compared with 14 million in 2009), it’s obvious that biotech crops are delivering value to more and more growers around the world.
“Ninety percent (14.4 million) of these are resource-poor farmers in developing countries. In fact, developing countries grew 48 percent of global biotech crops in 2010. Because of agricultural biotechnology’s contribution to combating food insecurity and problems associated with poor nutrition, it is predicted that developing countries will exceed industrialized nations in their plantings of biotech crops by 2015.
“In the United States more than 165 million acres of biotech crops were planted in 2010, 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 and soybeans, but also canola, squash, papaya, alfalfa, and sugar beet.
“The benefits provided by agricultural biotechnology allow growers to produce more food, feed and fiber on less land, often with significant environmental benefits. Biotechnology can help crops thrive in drought-prone areas, can improve the nutrition content of foods, can grow alternative energy sources and can improve the lives of farmers and rural communities around the globe. “In order to fully realize these promises for a better tomorrow, we need to continue to embrace scientific innovation.”
* The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) report, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2010 and accompanying materials are posted at www.isaaa.org.