2-Plants: Biotech crops continue rapid global growth
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TITLE: Biotech Crops Continue Rapid Global Growth
New report documents nearly 6 million farmers chose biotech last
SOURCE: International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech
DATE: Jan 17, 2003
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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
"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 email@example.com. 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, firstname.lastname@example.org
or John Dutcher at (515) 334-3464, email@example.com
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