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18 Million Farmers Chose Biotech Crops

on February 19 | in Tek Talk | by | with No Comments

From a release

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) has released a report which indicates more than 18 million farmers in 27 countries planted biotech crops in 2013, reflecting a five million, or three per cent, increase in global biotech crop hectarage.

2013 also marks the first-ever commercial plantings of drought-tolerant biotech maize in the United States.

Global biotech crop hectarage has increased from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to over 175 million hectares in 2013. During this 18 year period, more than a 100-fold increase of commercial biotech crop hectarage has been reported. The United States continues to lead global biotech crop plantings at 70.1 million hectares or 40 percent of total global hectares.

“Accumulated hectarage of biotech crops planted worldwide to-date stands at 1.6 billion hectares or 150 percent of the total landmass of China,” said Clive James, author of the report and ISAAA Founder and Chairman Emeritus. “Each of the top ten countries planting biotech crops during 2013 planted more than one million hectares, providing a broad foundation for future growth.”

Given the importance of drought on crop productivity, exacerbated by climate change, drought tolerance is judged to be an important development. In the United States, approximately 2,000 farmers in the drought-prone Corn Belt planted about 50,000 hectares of the first biotech drought-tolerant maize. Also, Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, developed and approved planting of the world’s first drought-tolerant sugarcane (the first biotech sugarcane to be approved globally) and plans to commercialize it for planting in 2014.

Biotech drought-tolerant maize technology has been donated to Africa through the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project, a public/private partnership by Monsanto and BASF, funded by the Gates and Buffet foundations and implemented through the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico and Kenya-based African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF). Planting of biotech drought-tolerant maize in Africa is expected in 2017.

United States continued to be the lead country with 70.1 million hectares, with 90 percent adoption across all crops.

Brazil ranked second for the fifth consecutive year, increasing its hectarage of biotech crops more than any other country – an impressive record increase of 3.7 million hectares or 10 percent from 2012.

Argentina retained its third place with 24.4 million hectares.

India, which displaced Canada for the fourth place, had a record 11 million hectares of biotech cotton with an adoption rate of 95 percent.

Canada was fifth at 10.8 million hectares with decreased plantings of canola but maintained a high adoption rate of 96 percent.

For more information or the executive summary, visit www.isaaa.org.

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