Consumers and small farmers increasingly benefit from biotech crop adoption, show two new studies
June 26, 2018. Today, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) and PG Economics, Ltd. released new studies highlighting the continued social, environmental and economic benefits of the global adoption of biotechnology in agriculture.
The complementary studies – PG Economics’ “GM Crops: Global Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts 1996-2016” and ISAAA’s “Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2017” examine the continued widespread adoption of global crop biotechnology, and the significant positive socio-economic and environmental impacts of this adoption by farmers and communities around the globe.
“Biotech crops offer enormous benefits to the environment, health of humans and animals, and contributions to the improvement of socioeconomic conditions of farmers and the public,” said ISAAA Chair of the Board, Paul S. Teng.
Key results from the reports include:
- 67 countries used biotech crops in 2017, now covering 189.8 million hectares in 24 countries.
- For 2017, ISAAA reports that there were improvements in the commercial availability and planting of biotech fruits and vegetables with direct benefits for consumers.
- Next generation biotech crops, now in production, include waste-saving apples and potatoes, enriched pineapple, increased ear biomass and high amylose content maize, soybeans with modified oil content, as well as Bt eggplant. More crops, including insect resistant sugarcane, are now approved for commercialization and on the horizon.
- As more developing countries, now 19 in total including India, Pakistan, Brazil, Bolivia, Sudan, Mexico, Colombia, Vietnam, Honduras, and Bangladesh have increased their biotech crop area and continue to allow farmers to adopt biotechnology in food production, smallholder farmers see the direct improvements this offers, allowing them to provide better lives for themselves and their families. Developing countries now account for 53 percent of the global biotech area planted.
- The continued expansion of biotech adoption offers beneficial nutritional quality traits that may help offset the nutrition-draining impact of climate change on certain crops, which is putting 1.4 billion children at risk of major micronutrient deficiencies by 2050. Research conducted by public sector institutions on rice, banana, potato, wheat, chickpea, pigeon pea and mustard with nutritional quality traits beneficial to food producers and consumers in developing countries may be driving an increase in adoption.
- From 1996-2016, PG Economics reported biotech crops provided $186.1 billion in economic gains to some 17 million farmers, many of whom are female, smallholder farmers solely responsible for the livelihood of their families and communities.
The two reports show that biotech crops can and do deliver significant benefits for consumers, farmers and the environment alike, contributing to greater food security in a changing and growing world.
Read the full press release here.
For more information or the executive summary of the “Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2017” report, visit www.isaaa.org. To download a copy of the PG Economics study, visit: www.pgeconomics.co.uk. The associated two papers in the peer review journal GM Crops and Food are available, with open access, at: