Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2010

Terry D. Etherton

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) has released their annual report Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2010.  The report presents interesting and compelling information about the rapid global adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops.

2010 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the commercialization of biotech crops. As a result of the consistent and substantial economic, environmental and welfare benefits offered by biotech crops, millions of large, small and resource-poor farmers around the world continued to plant significantly more acres of biotech crops in 2010.

The ISAAA Report notes that progress was made on several major fronts: accumulated acreage planted from 1996 to 2010 reached an historic global milestone; a significant double-digit year-over-year increase in biotech crop acreage was observed as well as a record number of biotech crop countries; the number of farmers planting biotech crops globally increased substantially; across-the-globe growth, reflected increased stability of adoption and that biotech crops are here to stay.

These are very important developments given that biotech crops already contribute to some of the major challenges facing global society, including: food security and self-sufficiency, sustainability, alleviation of poverty and hunger, help in mitigating some of the challenges associated with climate change and global warming.  The potential of biotech crops for the future is enormous.

It is impressive that in 2010 the accumulated acreage planted during the 15 years, 1996 to 2010, exceeded for the first time, 1 billion hectares, which is equivalent to more than 10% of the total land area of the USA (937 million hectares) or China (956 million hectares). It took 10 years to reach the first 500 million hectares in 2005, but only half that time, 5 years, to plant the second 500 million hectares to reach a total of 1 billion hectares in 2010.

A record 87-fold increase in acreage planted to GM crops occurred between 1996 and 2010, making biotech crops the fastest adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.

To read more about this informative report that clearly presents the need for, and value of biotechnology, click here.

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