Farmers around the world continue to plant more acres to genetically-modified crops, mainly corn and soybeans.
Last year the total hit 185.1 million hectares (about 457 million acres), according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).
“Biotech crops have become a vital agricultural resource for farmers around the world because of the immense benefits for improved productivity and profitability,” according to ISAAA chair of the board, Paul S. Teng.
“With the commercial approvals and plantings of new varieties of biotech potatoes and apples, consumers will begin to enjoy direct benefits of biotechnology with produce that is not likely to spoil or be damaged, which in turn has the potential to substantially reduce food waste and consumer grocery costs,” he said.
According to the ISAAA report, using biotech crops has the carbon dioxide reduction equivalent of removing 12 million cars from the road each year. They also help farmers apply an estimated 19 per cent fewer herbicide and insecticide use.
Randy Hautea, ISAAA global coordinator, says in developing countries, biotech crops are helping boost incomes for 18 million small farmers and their families, which provides financial stability to up to 65 million people worldwide.
“Biotechnology is one of the tools necessary in helping farmers grow more food on less land,” he says.
“However, the promises of biotech crops can only be unlocked if farmers are able to buy and plant these crops, following a scientific approach to regulatory reviews and approvals.”
ISAAA expects worldwide adoption of biotech crops, particularly in developing nations, to continue to trend upward. Developing nations account for 54 per cent of total biotech acres.
Globally, 78 cent of soybeans, 64 per cent of cotton, 26 per cent of corn and 24 per cent of canola are biotech varieties.
What these industry promotors don't mention is that demand for food produced under organic-organization standards, which don't allow GMOs, has been increasing steadily and rapidly across North America.