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TITLE:  Biotech Crops Continue Rapid Global Growth
        New report documents nearly 6 million farmers chose biotech last
        year
SOURCE: International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech
        Applications, USA
        http://www.isaaa.org/
DATE:   Jan 17, 2003

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------



Biotech Crops Continue Rapid Global Growth
New report documents nearly 6 million farmers chose biotech last year

(Jan. 15, 2003) - Biotechnology continues to be a growing choice among 
farmers worldwide as global acreage of crops enhanced through biotech 
increased by 12 percent, or 15 million acres in 2002, according to a new 
report released today from the International Service for the Acquisition of 
Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

For the sixth consecutive year, farmers worldwide adopted biotech crops at 
a double-digit pace, with 2002 global biotech acreage reaching 145 million 
acres. More than one-fifth of the global crop area of soybeans, corn, 
cotton and canola acres are now biotech. Nearly 6 million farmers in 16 
countries chose to plant biotech crops in 2002, up from 5 million farmers 
in 13 countries in 2001. More than three-quarters of these farmers were 
resource-poor farmers in developing countries.

"This high adoption rate is a strong vote of confidence in biotech crops, 
reflecting farmers' need for and satisfaction with the technology," says 
Clive James, chairman and founder of ISAAA. "In many cases, growers are 
finding biotechnology offers the only viable solution to protect crops from 
economically devastating pests."

While biotech cotton maintained its global acreage of 16.8 million acres, 
biotech corn acreage grew 27 percent to 30.6 million acres, biotech canola 
acreage increased 11 percent to 7.4 million acres, and biotech soybean 
production grew 10 percent to 90.2 million acres, exceeding more than 50 
percent of the global soybean crop area for the first time. In the United 
States, biotech acreage grew by approximately 8.2 million acres, mainly due 
to significant increases in biotech corn and soybean acres.

The United States, Argentina, Canada and China continued to be the leading 
growers of biotech crops, with more than half of China's cotton crop being 
biotech for the first time. But other countries are starting to follow suit.

The report indicates more than one-quarter of the global biotech acreage 
was grown in developing countries in 2002. India, Colombia and Honduras 
grew biotech crops for the first time. And, just last month, the 
Philippines approved a variety of biotech corn, making this one of the 
first biotech feed crops approved for planting in Asia. For the first time, 
more than half the world's population lives in countries where biotech 
crops are approved and grown.

"Biotechnology continues to be the most rapidly adopted technology in 
agricultural history due to the social and economic benefits the crops 
offer farmers and society, particularly the 5 million resource-poor farmers 
in developing countries," James says. "Biotech crops can significantly 
alter the lives of these farmers, limiting the time they must spend in the 
field and helping alleviate poverty."

The report suggests Bt cotton farmers are seeing these benefits. In China, 
farmers growing Bt cotton increased their income an additional $200 per 
acre or $750 million nationally. The study reports similar results in South 
Africa, where half of farmers are women. The reduced insecticide sprays 
required with Bt cotton allow the farmers more time to care for their 
families or generate additional income from other activities.

"We can attend to other things besides staying in the field," says T.J. 
Buthelezi, a cotton farmer from the Makhatini Flats of South Africa. "Our 
standard of living is very much improved when we have money to send our 
children to school."

The ISAAA study also reports biotech crops are contributing to a reduction 
in pesticide usage. According to the study, Bt cotton alone is estimated to 
have the potential to eliminate the need for 33,000 tons of insecticide 
globally, or 40 percent of the current global use. In 2001, six biotech 
crops planted in the United States reduced pesticide use 23,000 tons.

The report projects continued near-term growth in global acreage of biotech 
crops and in the number of farmers who will use the technology. New biotech 
cotton and corn products are expected to be commercialized within the next 
few years as well, further increasing biotechnology's presence around the 
world. By 2005, the report predicts the global market value of biotech 
crops will reach $5 billion, up from approximately $4.25 billion in 2002 
and $3.8 billion just a year before.

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications 
(ISAAA) is a not-for-profit organization with an international network of 
centers designed to contribute to the alleviation of hunger and poverty by 
sharing crop biotechnology applications. Clive James, chairman and founder 
of ISAAA, has lived and worked for the past 25 years in the developing 
countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa, devoting his efforts to 
agricultural research and development issues. Lately, his focus is crop 
biotechnology and global food security.

Click here to download a color EPS graphic, "Global Status of Biotech Crops 
in 2002." ISAAA publishes several reports on various aspects of crop 
biotechnology every year, including an annual Global Review of 
Commercialized Transgenic Crops. The final Global Review for 2001 (ISAAA 
Brief No. 26) was published in December 2002. The report published today is 
a preview of 2002 global GM crop areas and will be supplemented by the 
customary comprehensive final report for 2002 toward the end of 2003.

Statistics published in ISAAA reports are based on a consolidated database 
from a broad range of sources, including government agencies and other 
organizations in the public and private sector. The figures published cover 
only plantings of GM crops in countries where the products have been 
officially approved.

"PREVIEW Global Status of Commercialized Transgenic Crops: 2002," by Clive 
James, ISAAA Brief No. 27, can be obtained from ISAAA's SoutheastAsia 
Center: e mail publications@isaaa.org. Cost of the publication, ISAAA Brief 
No. 27, is $US 35.00, including postage. The publication is available free 
of charge to nationals of developing countries.

For media inquiries, please call (345) 947 1839 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
EST, New York, USA.

For more information, contact:
Clive James at (345) 947-1839, cjames@candw.ky
or John Dutcher at (515) 334-3464, dutcherj@fleishman.com



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