ISAAA (International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications) released their annual report last week on the Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2012, showing a record 17.3 million farmers in 28 countries are growing biotech crops on 420 million acres. That marks a pretty stunning 100-fold increase since biotech crops were first commercialized in 1996.
Even more impressive is the role developing countries are playing in the growth of biotech crops.
Business-Standard.com reported on ISAAA’s latest report and the first-time ever that developing countries grew more biotech crops than industrialized nations:
For the first time since the introduction of biotech or genetically modified (GM) crops almost two decades ago, developing countries have grown more hectares of biotech crops than industrialised countries, contributing to food security and further alleviating poverty in some of the world’s most vulnerable regions.
The report underscores rising awareness in developing countries about the benefits of planting genetically modified crops, which not only have increased yields, but also bring savings in fuel, time and machinery, reduction in pesticide use, higher quality of product and more growing cycles.
In Business Mirror’s story, “Crop Biotechnology: A ‘Continuing Success’ Globally,” Lyn Resurreccion writes:
… the trend in crop biotechnology is in favor of developing countries, which compose 20 of the 28 countries that adopt the technology.
He noted that of the 17.3 million farmers, 15.5 million, or 90 percent, are resource-poor, thereby helping farmers increase their income.
Many had thought developing countries planting more biotech crops than industrial countries was an unreachable milestone, making it even more impressive. The productivity gains from biotechnology are enabling us to better feed a global population at a time when food insecurity is becoming a global concern. Agricultural biotechnology is able to deliver more abundant crops that produce more food, often in areas with less-than-perfect growing conditions.
The findings of the ISAAA report prove that the United States and countries around the world are turning to science and technology to meet today’s challenges in agriculture, and food and energy production.
Check out all of the study highlights on the 2012 ISAAA Report fact sheet on Bio.org.