Because of its contribution to agricultural productivity and sustainable farming, growers around the world continue to choose genetically engineered (GE) crops according to a report released today by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA).
The ISAAA report, The Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2009, says a record 14 million farmers in 25 countries are using agricultural biotechnology today. Ninety percent (13 million) of these are resource-poor farmers in developing countries.
Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, executive vice president, Food and Agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), issued the following statement in response to the report’s findings:
“The annual ISAAA report is proof positive that the global adoption of biotech crops – especially corn, soybeans, cotton and canola – increases each year as more and more farmers gain access to this technology. Agricultural biotechnology provides solutions for today’s farmers in the form of plants that are more environmentally friendly while yielding more per acre, resisting diseases and insect pests and reducing farmers’ production costs.
“When you look at the rising number of acres of biotech crops planted each year (330 million in 2009 compared with 309 million in 2008), and the increasing number of farmers who have chosen this technology (14 million in 2009 compared with 13.3 million in 2008), it’s obvious that biotech crops are delivering value to more and more growers around the world.
“In the United States more than 158 million acres of biotech crops were planted in 2009, and the United States remains the top country in terms of biotech acreage. The primary biotech crops grown in the United States are corn, cotton, canola and soybeans, but also squash, papaya, alfalfa, and sugarbeet.
“As the world confronts agricultural challenges such as climate change and a higher-than-ever demand for food supplies, advances in biotechnology can provide heartier crops that produce more food, often in areas with less-than-perfect growing conditions. For example, biotech crop varieties with drought tolerance traits and nutrient-enhanced foods offer the greatest potential for future adoption.
“The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has predicted that feeding a world population of 9.1 billion people in 2050 will require raising overall food production by some 70 percent (nearly 100 percent in the developing countries). The findings of this report prove that biotechnology is a key solution in meeting the growing demand to 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: 2009 and accompanying materials are posted at www.isaaa.org.