Twenty Percent Increase in Global Biotech Crop Plantings

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 12, 2005) -- Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Executive Director, Food and Agriculture, Sean Darragh issued the following statement in response to a new report issued today by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) which reported biotech crop plantings increased 20 percent in 2004 over 2003:

“In the decade since biotech crops have been introduced, farmers and consumers worldwide have increasingly embraced the benefits of agricultural biotechnology and continue to adopt the technology at a phenomenal pace. Few technologies have had the extraordinary acceptance and growth rate that biotech crops have enjoyed.

“The adoption of biotechnology is particularly striking in the developing world. Many small, resource-poor farmers are realizing the benefits of increased crop yields resulting from plants more tolerant to harsh climates, pests, and that generate less runoff into lakes and streams. In 2004, 1.25 million more farmers planted biotech crops than did in the previous year – ninety percent of which were in developing countries. In addition, 11 of the 17 countries planting biotech crops in 2004 were developing nations.

“Globally in 2004, farmers planted 200 million acres of biotech crops in 17 countries. The 2004 acreage numbers are up from just seven million acres in 1996, and a 20 percent increase over 2003. That’s more than one billion acres of biotech crops over a course of nine years. In addition, biotech crops have had an enormous global economic impact. The global value of the biotech crop market is expected to be more than $5 billion in 2005.”

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.