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New Report Shows GM Crops to be Favored Globally by Farmers

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<span style="font-size: 14.3999996185303px; line-height: 24.4799995422363px;">Millions of farmers around the world continue to choose to plant and replant genetically modified (GM) crop varieties because of their environmental and socio-economic benefits and the important role they play in addressing food security, according to a new study.</span></p>

Washington, D.C. (January 28, 2015) – Millions of farmers around the world continue to choose to plant and replant genetically modified (GM) crop varieties because of their environmental and socio-economic benefits and the important role they play in addressing food security, according to a new study.

The report, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2014, released annually by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), says a record 18 million farmers in 28 countries are growing biotech crops on 448 million acres.

"With the global population reaching 9 billion by 2050, GM crop technology is a critical food production tool—increasing yields and efficiency for farmers, and enabling them to produce food more sustainably.  A reduced environmental footprint for agriculture is good for all of us," says Dr. Cathleen Enright, Executive Vice President, Food and Agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).

According to the report, “Global adoption of biotech crops has risen to 181.5 million hectares. This marks 18 years of consecutive growth and a more than 100-fold increase since 1996, the first year of planting.”

“We strongly support farmer choice to plant the seeds that work best for their operations.  Eighteen million farmers around the world are testament to the benefits they are realizing through the adoption of agricultural biotechnology,” said Enright. 

Among the report’s highlights:

Global adoption of biotech crops has risen to 181.5 million hectares. This marks 18 years of consecutive growth and a more than 100-fold increase since 1996, the first year of planting.
 
18 million farmers, 90% of which are small, resource-poor growers, in 28 countries (20 developing, 8 industrial) planted biotech crops in 2014, up from 27 countries in 2013. Approximately 60% of the world’s population, or 4 billion people, now live in countries planting biotech crops. 
 
Bangladesh is the newest country to grow biotech crops having become the first country to plant Bt brinjal.
 
For the third consecutive year, developing countries planted the majority (53%) of biotech crop hectares.
 
United States experienced the greatest year-over-year growth, increasing its plantings by 3 million hectares from 2013 to 2014. In addition, U.S. growers increased adoption of the world’s first commercialized biotech drought tolerant crop by 550%, from 50,000 hectares to 275,000 hectares.
 
A global meta-analysis of 147 studies in the last 20 years, confirmed that “on average GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%.” These findings corroborate earlier and consistent results from other annual global studies.
 
Brazil experienced the second highest growth, increasing plantings by 1.9 million hectares from 2013 to 2014.
 
Stacked traits now occupy 28% of global biotech plantings.
 

 “Over the past two decades, we have seen how insect resistant and herbicide tolerant traits can improve crop productivity,” said Enright.   “But agricultural biotechnology will also help us to combat world hunger and improve human health.”

“The continued adoption of GM crops is also an indication that governments clearly recognize what investment in biotechnology can mean to their countries’ ability to better feed, fuel and heal the world.”

*The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) report, Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2014 and accompanying materials are posted at www.isaaa.org.