Thursday, March 4, 2010

New wave of adoption of GM crops

GM crops once again proved to be the fastest adopted crop technology with an 80-fold increase in hectarage from 1999 to 2009. 134 million hectares of GM crops were planted around the world compared to 125 million hectares in 2008. The number of countries growing GM crops remained the same at 25, with Costa Rica joining in and Germany discontinuing the planting of GM corn. Whereas, the number of farmers growing GM crops continued to grow with 14 million farmers around the globe in 2009. Out of this, 13 million are from developing countries. This proves the notion that GM crops only benefits the rich nations wrong.

A landmark decision was made by the Chinese government in approving biosafety certificates for insect-resistant Bt rice and phytase corn. It is worth mentioning here that both these crops are entirely products of public sectors. The decision will have great impact not only in China, but the rest of the world as rice is the most important food crop in globally. Phytase corn allows efficient meat production as livestock animals will be able to digest the phosphorus in this corn easily. This would also mean reduction in the pollution level as there will be lower phosphate waste from the livestock industry.

The highlights of the new ISAAA report:

- More than three quarters of the 90 million hectares of soybean grown globally were GM.

- Almost half of the cotton grown globally was GM.

- More than a quarter of the 158 million hectares of corn grown globally was GM varieties.

- 21 percent of the 31 million hectares of canola were GM.

The countries that grow GM crops in descending order are: US, Brazil, Argentina, India, Canada, China, Paraguay, South Africa, Uruguay, Bolivia, Philippines, Australia, Burkina Faso, Spain, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Czech Republic, Portugal, Romania, Poland, Costa Rica, Egypt, and Slovakia.

For detailed information visit:

The international Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) publishes this report yearly and this is one of the most cited publication in the field of plant biotechnology.

By Mahaletchumy Arujanan

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