GENET archive

[Index][Thread]

BUSINESS & SEEDS: Global boost to GM crops



                                  PART 1


------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   GLOBAL BOOST TO GM CROPS

SOURCE:  The Financial Times, UK

AUTHOR:  Clive Cookson

URL:     http://www.ft.com/cms/s/ef5cc4ea-3e75-11e0-9e8f-00144feabdc0,Authorised=false.html?_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2Fef5cc4ea-3e75-11e0-9e8f-00144feabdc0.html&_i_referer=

DATE:    22.02.2011

SUMMARY: "The global area planted with genetically modified crops increased by 10 per cent last year to 148m hectares ? equivalent to about 10 per cent of the world?s total area of cropland. [...[ Ten countries had more than 1m hectares in production, with the US still well ahead with 66.8m hectares, followed by Brazil (25.4m) and Argentina (22.9m). [...] Clive James, ISAAA chairman and a strong advocate of what he prefers to call biotech crops, said Brazil would be a driving force in their future global adoption."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


GLOBAL BOOST TO GM CROPS

The global area planted with genetically modified crops increased by 10 per cent last year to 148m hectares ? equivalent to about 10 per cent of the world?s total area of cropland.

The increase was the second largest recorded since the commercial growing of GM crops started in 1996.

The annual survey by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) found that 15.4m farmers in 29 countries planted GM crops last year.

Ten countries had more than 1m hectares in production, with the US still well ahead with 66.8m hectares, followed by Brazil (25.4m) and Argentina (22.9m).

Among the big 10 GM growers, Brazil had the largest increase, planting an additional 19 per cent last year.

Clive James, ISAAA chairman and a strong advocate of what he prefers to call biotech crops, said Brazil would be a driving force in their future global adoption.

?Developing countries grew 48 per cent of global biotech crops in 2010 and will exceed industrialised nations in their plantings of biotech crops by 2015,? said Mr James.

?Clearly, the countries of Latin America and Asia will drive the most dramatic increases in global hectares planted to biotech crops during the remainder of the technology?s second decade of commercialisation.?

He predicted that an additional 12 countries would adopt biotech crops by 2015, to bring the list of GM nations to 40 and the global area to 200m hectares.

Four crops ? maize, soyabeans, cotton and canola (oilseed rape) ? still dominate the picture. The two main GM traits are herbicide tolerance, which enables the farmer to spray with a broad-spectrum weedkiller such as Monsanto?s RoundUp, and insect resistance, which cuts the amount of pesticide that needs to be applied.

According to the ISAAA analysis, the next big developments will be the introductions of drought-tolerant maize, perhaps as soon as next year, and biotech rice in 2013.

The development of GM wheat has been held up by scientific problems ? its genome is particularly complex ? and by consumer resistance. But Mr James has detected a change of heart about GM wheat among farmers and agricultural biotech researchers, and he expects it to be ready for commercialisation in 2017.

?The acreage of wheat grown is falling because it cannot compete with biotech maize,? said Mr James. ?Over the past eight years there has been a four per cent increase in productivity of wheat and a 14 per cent increase in maize productivity.?

Other GM crops likely to be approved for commercialisation by 2015 include: potatoes resistant to the most important potato disease, late blight, which caused the Irish famine in 1845; sugarcane with improved agronomic and quality traits; disease-resistant bananas; insect-resistant aubergine, tomato, broccoli and cabbage; and some crops grown in the poorest parts of the world, such as cassava, sweet potato, pulses and groundnut.



                                  PART 2

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   GM CROPS CONTINUE SPREAD, PASSING ?BILLION HECTARES?

SOURCE:  British Broadcasting Corporation, UK (BBC)

AUTHOR:  Richard Black

URL:     http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12541465

DATE:    22.02.2011

SUMMARY: "The area of the world?s farmland used for growing genetically modified crops increased by about 10% last year. GM use grew fastest in Brazil but fell in the EU, says the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications. Virtually all GM strains used were engineered for just two traits, disease resistance and herbicide tolerance."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


GM CROPS CONTINUE SPREAD, PASSING ?BILLION HECTARES?

The area of the world?s farmland used for growing genetically modified crops increased by about 10% last year.

GM use grew fastest in Brazil but fell in the EU, says the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

Virtually all GM strains used were engineered for just two traits, disease resistance and herbicide tolerance.

ISAAA is an organisation partly funded by industry that promotes biotechnology as a path to sustainability.

It calculates that more than a billion hectares have been cultivated with GM crops since their introduction in 1996 - the figure derived by adding together the areas cultivated with these varieties in all of the intervening years.

?Here to stay?

ISAAA estimates that more than 15 million farmers are involved in GM agriculture.

?We can recount a momentous year of progress in biotech crop adoption,? said Clive James, the organisation?s chairman and founder.

?During 2010, the accumulated commercial biotech plantation exceeded one billion hectares - that?s an area larger than the US or China.

?And biotech crops registered double-digit growth over 2009, bringing the total global plantings to 148 million hectares. Biotech crops are here to stay.?

However, critics point out that this is still just 10% of the world?s arable land area as defined by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

About half of the global GM total is accounted for by the US - although overall, the developing world is adopting the technology faster than industrialised countries.

If current trends continue, developing countries will be growing more than half of the global total within a few years.

Scientists with GM potato plants Potatoes are among the GM crops starting to become more widespread

During 2010, Pakistan and Burma took their initial steps into the GM world by growing cotton modified to be resistant to insect pests.

The EU, however, continues to buck the global trend, registering a slight fall in the land area under GM cultivation.

Germany and Sweden both supported small areas of a new potato variety grown not for food, but to produce high-quality starch for industrial use.

Greenpeace, meanwhile, has presented a petition bearing more than a million signatures to the European Commission, demanding that the executive stop approving new GM varieties.

Recently, the EU introduced the ?European citizen?s initiative?, which allows more than a million citizens jointly to ask for a change in the law.

?Today?s European data shows that GM crops are failing in the field and on the market; farmers and consumers are not falling for biotech industry propaganda,? said Greenpeace EU agriculture policy adviser Stefanie Hundsdorfer.

?GM crops are not more productive and are less resistant to extreme climate conditions than normal crops. They do however present a serious risk for our environment.?

Golden future

One of the principal criticisms of the biotech industry down the years is that companies have not commercialised crops that produce direct benefits to the public, such as those with improved nutritional content, or that allow farmers in poor countries to grow crops in land that is currently too hot, too dry or too salty.

Virtually all of the crops grown in 2010 were either engineered to be resistant to insect pests - typically, through insertion of a Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) gene that produces a toxin - or tolerant to proprietary herbicides.

A significant and growing proportion - about 20% - carried both traits, reflecting the trend for companies to market varieties containing a number of introduced genes ?stacked? on top of each other.

Up to eight genes are stacked in a single variety.

Another criticism is that just four crops - soya bean, cotton, maize and canola (a relative of rape) - dominate the market, with little attention paid to other important foods of the developing world poor, such as rice, millet or sorghum.

Dr James suggested this situation was about to change, with crops due to come into commercial use over the next five years, including many with enhanced nutrition, notably ?Golden Rice? enhanced in Vitamin A.

?Golden rice is expected to be available in 2013 in the Philippines and thereafter in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam,? he said.

?Also [we will soon see] potatoes modified to resist late blight - the disease that caused the Irish potato famine - as well as sugar cane, bananas, eggplant, tomato, cassava. sweet potato, pulses and groundnuts.?

He claimed that the introduction of Golden Rice could save the lives of thousands of people afflicted with Vitamin A deficiency.



                                  PART 3

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   GLOBAL PLANTING OF BIOTECH CROPS JUMPS 10 PERCENT: REPORT

SOURCE:  Thomson Reuters, USA

AUTHOR:  Carey Gillam

URL:     http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/22/us-biotech-crops-idUSTRE71L4H120110222

DATE:    22.02.2011

SUMMARY: "Global plantings of biotech crops increased 10 percent last year, continuing steady growth over the past decade that has been spurred by concerns about feeding a growing world population, according to an industry analysis.

While the United States remains the largest user of genetically modified seeds, Brazil posted the biggest growth, with plantings rising 19 percent [...] About 10 percent of total global cropland is being planted to biotech crops, according to ISAAA."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


GLOBAL PLANTING OF BIOTECH CROPS JUMPS 10 PERCENT: REPORT

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Global plantings of biotech crops increased 10 percent last year, continuing steady growth over the past decade that has been spurred by concerns about feeding a growing world population, according to an industry analysis.

While the United States remains the largest user of genetically modified seeds, Brazil posted the biggest growth, with plantings rising 19 percent, according to the report issued Tuesday by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), which promotes biotech crop adoption. That marked a rise of 10 percent over 2009.

About 10 percent of total global cropland is being planted to biotech crops, according to ISAAA.

Brazilian farmers led the way, increasing their biotech crop plantings by 4 million hectares in 2010, more added farmland sown to biotech seeds than any other country last year, according to ISAAA Chairman Clive James.

?It is growing extremely fast,? James said of Brazil?s use of biotech crops, particularly soybeans. ?The technology is here to stay.?

The United States remained by far the largest adopter of biotech seeds, with 165 million acres (66.8 million hectares) planted to GMO crops in 2010, up 4 percent from 2009.

Globally, farmers last year planted 365 million acres (148 million hectares) of genetically modified (GMO) corn, soybeans, cotton and other crops.

U.S.-based Monsanto and DuPont?s Pioneer Hi-Bred are world leaders in development of crops genetically altered to help farmers fight weeds, bugs and diseases.

Critics say the altered plants cause environmental harm in many ways, including through increased use of herbicides, weed resistance, and potential health problems for animals and people. But supporters say they are safe and the answer to demands for increased food production to serve a growing population.

CHINA BECOMING BIOTECH LEADER

ISAAA?s report said that while China planted only 3.5 million hectares to biotech crops last year, down 5 percent from 2009, policymakers there are encouraging development of biotech crops to address food security concerns for the fast-growing population. Among biotech crops being field-tested are GMO wheat, soybeans, potato, cabbage, papaya, and melon.

Pakistan and Myanmar were among three countries planting biotech crops for the first time last year, with farmers in those nations planting insect-resistant Bt cotton. Sweden also reported planting biotech crops for the first time last year as farmers there seeded a biotech high-quality starch potato approved for industrial and feed use.

Notably, developing countries grew 48 percent of the total global biotech crop tally last year, and are expected to continue to accelerate use of biotech crops rapidly, according to the ISAAA report.

James said he expects an additional 12 countries to adopt biotech crops by 2015 and the number of farmers planting such crop to double to 20 million with global hectarage rising to 200 million hectares, or nearly 500 million acres.

Up to three or four additional countries are expected to grow biotech crops from each of the three regions of Asia, West Africa, East/Southern Africa and fewer from Latin/Central America, and Western and Eastern Europe.

Europe largely remains a steady foe of biotech crops, James said, though there are signs some European countries are softening.

?Europe is not lost but is by far the most difficult region to call in terms of future development,? he said.

Advancements in new types of biotech crops should accelerate adoption, particularly drought-tolerant corn, and rice that is healthier, tastes better and resists pests. Biotech wheat that resists certain plant diseases is also on the drawing board.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)



                                  PART 4

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   MORE OF WORLD?S CROPS ARE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED

SOURCE:  USA Today, USA

AUTHOR:  Elizabeth Weise

URL:     http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/biotech/2011-02-22-biotech-crops_N.htm

DATE:    22.02.2011

SUMMARY: "The amount of land devoted to genetically engineered crops grew 10% last year, and 7% in the year before, as farmers in major grain and soy exporting countries such as Brazil and Argentina continued to adopt the new seeds. These so-called biotech crops, often bred with genes that allow them to tolerate weed killers or generate their own insecticides, now cover 10% of the world?s farmland, up from nothing just 15 years ago."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


MORE OF WORLD?S CROPS ARE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED

The amount of land devoted to genetically engineered crops grew 10% last year, and 7% in the year before, as farmers in major grain and soy exporting countries such as Brazil and Argentina continued to adopt the new seeds.

These so-called biotech crops, often bred with genes that allow them to tolerate weed killers or generate their own insecticides, now cover 10% of the world?s farmland, up from nothing just 15 years ago.

The figures are in this year?s International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications report, out Tuesday. Of the four most commonly planted biotech crops, a rising percentage of the total of all plantings are biotech. In 2010, 81% of all soybeans, 64% of cotton, 29% of corn and 23% of canola globally were from biotech seeds, the ISAAA says.

The most common modification is herbicide tolerance, where plants are given a gene that allows farmers to spray them with the weed killer glyphosate, known to most home gardeners as Roundup, without harming them. Sixty-one percent of biotech crops carry this gene.

The other commonly used trait is the addition of a gene from a soil bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis that allows plants to produce their own insecticide. About 17% of biotech crops carry this trait. About 22% contained both genes.

Genetically engineered crops have been commercially planted since 1996. Major crops are soy, corn, cotton and canola, then small amounts of sugar beets, alfalfa, papaya, summer squash, poplar, potato, tomato and sweet pepper.

Biotech crops

Genetically engineered crops covered 10% of the world?s farm acreage in 2010, from less than 1% just 15 years ago when the first commercial biotech crop varieties were introduced. Here are the currently planted biotech crops, in order of acerage worldwide.

Soybean: 181 million acres: herbicide tolerant.

Corn: 115 million acres: herbicide tolerant, insect resistant, modified to yield more animal feed and also ethanol for biofuel production.

Cotton: 51 million acres: herbicide tolerant, insect resistant.

Canola (rapeseed oil): 17 million acres: herbicide tolerant.

Sugar beets: 1.2 million acres: herbicide tolerant (only grown in the United States and Canada).

Alfalfa: 247,000 acres : herbicide tolerant.

Papaya: 17,300 acres: resistant to the papaya ringspot-virus, 60% of all papaya in Hawaii and 99% of all papaya in China.

A total of 29 countries worldwide now plant GM crops, with the United States planting the most, at 165 million acres, Brazil with 63 million acres,and Argentina with 56 million. But debate over use of these crops continues.Genetically engineered seed can cost more than conventional seed, but for many farmers, especially larger and more technologically savvy ones, the savings they represent in time and diminished insecticide and pesticide use makes them economical. Opponents, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, charge that the crops could represent unknown hazards to animals and humans who eat them, including possibly adding new allergens and toxins to foods.

The so-called ?Roundup Ready? crops that can tolerate glyphosate are a problem because they?re so popular, says the Union?s Doug Gurian-Sherman. He says it?s destroying the efficacy of Roundup, an important herbicide because it?s ?effective, breaks down quickly and is inexpensive.? Resistant weeds are beginning to emerge, he says, in part because ?we?re not managing it well,? he says.

Other groups feel the biotech crops favor richer farmers over poor ones because of their costs and are a threat to biodiversity. The crops have been enthusiastically embraced by farmers in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and China. Much of Europe is opposed to them.

Others, looking towards 2050, when the world?s population is expected to peak at 9 billion, see the promise of higher yields from biotech varieties as key to dealing with the shrinking availability of land to feed those two billion more mouths.

Genetic modification will be crucial as the world?s climate changes, says Clive James, chair of ISAAA?s board. ?Speeding the breeding as you get more frequent and more severe changes in climate, whether it?s temperature or water level, we need a technology that allows you to develop improved varieties more rapidly.?

Some who feel genetic engineering can be positive worry that the benefits won?t be used to help the poorest farmers.

Peggy Lemaux, at the University of California, Berkeley?s Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, says ?because of the expenses involved, creating engineered crops for developing countries requires humanitarian contributions by philanthropists like (Bill) Gates and the Rockefeller Foundation, or perhaps by companies who see value in such endeavors.?



                                  PART 5

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   MORE OF THE GLOBE?S FARMERS PLANTING BIOTECH CROPS

SOURCE:  St. Louis Post-Dispatch, USA

AUTHOR:  Georgina Gustin

URL:     http://www.stltoday.com/article_d921b88c-3ee0-11e0-ac43-0017a4a78c22.html

DATE:    22.02.2011

SUMMARY: "Every winter a report comes out that delivers some good news to Creve Couer-based seed giant Monsanto. On Tuesday it emerged again, and, as it has each year for the past dozen or so, the report said that more farmers in more countries are planting more genetically modified crops. (Hence the good news for Monsanto, the world?s largest purveyor of GM crops.)"

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


MORE OF THE GLOBE?S FARMERS PLANTING BIOTECH CROPS

Every winter a report comes out that delivers some good news to Creve Couer-based seed giant Monsanto.

On Tuesday it emerged again, and, as it has each year for the past dozen or so, the report said that more farmers in more countries are planting more genetically modified crops. (Hence the good news for Monsanto, the world?s largest purveyor of GM crops.)

In 2010, American farmers grew biotech crops on about 165 million acres, making the U.S. the largest adopter of the technology. But, according to the report, Brazil saw a huge rise last year, mostly in soybeans, and three new countries -- Pakistan, Myanmar and Sweden -- joined the GM party, planting biotech crops for the first time.

The report is issued by a biotech industry-funded organization called the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (known, thankfully, by its shorter acronym, ISAAA). Its author, Clive James, is a strong biotech supporter.

No other entity -- not even the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization -- tracks global adoption of biotech crops, and the biotech industry points inquiries about global adoption to James and ISAAA.

That, critics have said, is a problem. Groups such as Friends of the Earth reliably emerge each year, along with the report, accusing James of cheerleading for the industry. The report, they say, is crafted to make it seem as if there?s less resistance to the technology. More adoption, less controversy, their thinking goes.

But, while European countries remain largely resistant to biotech crops, it?s pretty clear -- no matter the source -- that more farmers around the world are coming to rely on GM crops.

The ISAAA report estimates that one-tenth of the globe?s agricultural land is now planted to biotech crops. (However, if you?d like to double-check that figure, you?ll have only ISAAA to ask.)

A link to a summary and highlights of the report is here. (The cost for the whole thing is $50.)



                                  PART 6

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   'NEW DAWN' FOR GMOS AFTER EU VOTE, GREEN GROUPS WARN

SOURCE:  EUobserver, Belgium

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://euobserver.com/9/31856

DATE:    23.02.2011

SUMMARY: "EU member state experts have voted to allow tiny quantities of unapproved genetically modified crops into the Union in the form of animal feed, prompting fierce condemnation from environmental groups, who say the decision sets a dangerous new precedent. The EU standing committee on Tuesday decided to allow a 0.1 percent contamination threshold for unauthorised GMO products in animal feed imports, a measure that industry, exporting states and the European Commission say is necessary to prevent supply disruptions."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


'NEW DAWN' FOR GMOS AFTER EU VOTE, GREEN GROUPS WARN

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU member state experts have voted to allow tiny quantities of unapproved genetically modified crops into the Union in the form of animal feed, prompting fierce condemnation from environmental groups, who say the decision sets a dangerous new precedent.

The EU standing committee on Tuesday (22 February) decided to allow a 0.1 percent contamination threshold for unauthorised GMO products in animal feed imports, a measure that industry, exporting states and the European Commission say is necessary to prevent supply disruptions.

Supporters of the move point to rising food prices and the supply chain disruption caused in 2009 when several shipments of US soya beans were impounded due to the discovery of traces of unauthorised genetically modified material.

By allowing trace amounts of unauthorised GMO products in future animal feed imports, the commission aims to prevent a repeat of the 2009 events, allowing feed dealers to commit to expensive shipments with less fear of them being impounded.

The EU livestock industry relies heavily on animal feed produced outside the 27-member bloc, importing 51 million tonnes of feed last year, roughly half of which was authorised genertically modified soya beans from Brazil and Argentina developed by US biotech company Monsanto.

Environment groups say Tuesday?s decision, which still needs European Parliament approval, is both unnecessary and dangerous, ending the EU?s zero-tolerance policy towards unauthorised GMOs.

?There is no need for this unless you are a shareholder in Monsanto or other US biotech multinationals and you want to expand into Europe,? Greenpeace campaigner Mark Breddy told this website. ?It?s purely commercial pressure and the commission is supporting it.?

A similar vote earlier this month failed to garner sufficient support from France and a list of other EU member states, prompting the commission to make changes.

Under the new text, only unauthorised GMO imports with an application pending with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for at least three months will be allowed into the bloc. They must also have been approved in a non-EU country.

?When Europeans come to the United States, they come and enjoy our cuisine with no concerns whatsoever,? deputy US trade representative Miriam Sapiro said earlier this month. ?We have very strict safety standards ... and I think that alone is good reason to make sure that our products are able to be sold in Europe.?

But green groups blasted the changes as ?cosmetic?, while others said Tuesday?s decision did not go far enough. In January, Dutch officials sent a letter to the commission requesting that the proposals be widened to include foodstuffs for direct human consumption.

The issue of GMOs remains highly controversial with European consumers. Supporters argue that engineered food is already eaten safely by billions of people across the globe, while detractors say the long-term effects still remain unknown.

As demand from large emerging countries such as China continues to surge ahead, the area of the world?s farm-land used for growing genetically modified crops increased by about 10 percent last year, according to new data published on Tuesday.

The use of genetically modified seeds grew fastest in Brazil but fell in the EU, said the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

Disease resistance and herbicide tolerance were the two engineered traits most frequently sought after.