BIO Statement: Global Biotech Plantings Increase; Majority Planted by Small Farmers

WASHINGTON (January 13, 2004) – Carl B. Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement in response to a new report issued today by the International Society for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) which reported biotech crop plantings increased 15 percent in 2003 over 2002.

"Today's report reconfirms two key facts about acceptance of crops improved through biotechnology. First, that wherever farmers have access to these enhanced crops, they will plant them as evidenced by the 15 percent increase in crop acreage in 18 countries, to reach a total of 167.2 million acres in 2003.

"Second, and particularly significant, is that the tools of agricultural biotechnology are scale neutral – farmers, regardless of size, have equal access to the benefits of biotechnology. ISAAA reports that 85 percent of those employing the technology are small farmers in developing countries, where growth is expected to continue. These farmers clearly recognize the agronomic, economic, and environmental advantages of biotech crops.

"For example, in South Africa, where the majority of farmers are women farming fewer than five acres, a bt cotton grower will spend 12 fewer days in the field spraying her crops with a knapsack sprayer, walk 100 fewer kilometers, carry 1000 fewer kiloliters of water on her back, and realize about $85 more profit per hectare. Not only will she increase her plantings and realize more

"ISAAA expects that by 2005, more than 10 million farmers in 25 or more countries will plant more than 247 million acres of biotech crops, representing a global market value exceeding $5 billion. These crops deliver value not only to farmers, but contribute to an abundant, healthy and affordable food supply."

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. For more information on BIO, visit our website at