Welcome!

News Feed Item

Eighteen Million Farmers in 27 Countries Chose Biotech Crops in 2013, Global Plantings Increase by 5 Million Hectares

Inaugural plantings of biotech drought-tolerant maize in U.S.; further developments in drought-tolerance technology across the world

BEIJING, Feb. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) today released a report which indicates more than 18 million farmers in 27 countries planted biotech crops in 2013, reflecting a five million, or three percent, increase in global biotech crop hectarage. 2013 also marks the first-ever commercial plantings of drought-tolerant biotech maize in the United States.

Global biotech crop hectarage has increased from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to over 175 million hectares in 2013. During this 18 year period, more than a 100-fold increase of commercial biotech crop hectarage has been reported. The United States continues to lead global biotech crop plantings at 70.1 million hectares or 40 percent of total global hectares.

"Accumulated hectarage of biotech crops planted worldwide to-date stands at 1.6 billion hectares or 150 percent of the total landmass of China," said Clive James, author of the report and ISAAA Founder and Chairman Emeritus. "Each of the top ten countries planting biotech crops during 2013 planted more than one million hectares, providing a broad foundation for future growth."

According to the report, more than 90 percent, or 16.5 million, of farmers planting biotech crops are small and resource-poor. Of the countries planting biotech crops, eight are industrial countries and 19 are developing countries. For the second year, developing countries planted more hectares of biotech crops than industrialized countries, representing confidence and trust of millions of risk-averse farmers around the world that have experienced the benefits of these crops. Nearly 100 percent of farmers who try biotech crops continue to plant them year after year, the report notes.

Two new drought-tolerant crops

Given the importance of drought on crop productivity, exacerbated by climate change, drought tolerance is judged to be an important development. In the United States, approximately 2,000 farmers in the drought-prone Corn Belt planted about 50,000 hectares of the first biotech drought-tolerant maize. Also, Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, developed and approved planting of the world's first drought-tolerant sugarcane (the first biotech sugarcane to be approved globally) and plans to commercialize it for planting in 2014.

"Biotech crops are demonstrating their global value as a tool for resource poor farmers who face decreased water supplies and increased weed and pest pressures – and the effects of climate change will only continue to expand the need for this technology," said James.

Biotech drought-tolerant maize technology has been donated to Africa through the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project, a public/private partnership by Monsanto and BASF, funded by the Gates and Buffet foundations and implemented through the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico and Kenya-based African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF). Planting of biotech drought-tolerant maize in Africa is expected in 2017. Drought is the biggest constraint to maize productivity in Africa on which 300 million Africans depend for survival.

Status and opportunities for biotech crops in China

China, with a population of 1.3 billion, is the most populous country in the world. Between 1996 and 2012, biotech cotton in China generated economic benefits valued at over $15 billion, with $2.2 billion occurring during the past year. Biotech crops also provided important benefits to farmers and the environment in China, with insecticide use decreasing by 50 percent or more on biotech cotton.  

"China has already experienced the benefits of biotech cotton for fiber, and could also benefit from biotech maize through increased and improved grain production for animal feed," said James. "China could also benefit from the approval of biotech traits for rice, the staple food crop in Asia."

Some observers speculate China might be paving the way to approval of a major biotech crop, like the phytase-maize that received biosafety clearance in 2009, when two biotech rice traits were also approved. The feed demand of sustaining China's 500 million swine and 13 billion poultry is causing the country to become increasingly reliant on imported maize, to supplement the 35 million hectares of maize it grows.

Increased hectarage in developing countries

Growth in developing countries continues to expand. Latin American, Asian and African farmers collectively grew 54 percent of global biotech crop hectares (up two percent from 2012), thereby increasing the hectarage gap between industrial and developing countries from approximately 7 to 14 million hectares between 2012 and 2013, respectively.

South America collectively planted 70 million hectares or 41 percent; Asia collectively planted 20 million hectares or 11 percent; and Africa collectively planted just over 3 million hectares or two percent of the global biotech hectarage.

"Growth in industrial countries and mature markets in developing countries continued to plateau in 2013 as adoption rates were sustained at 90 percent or more, leaving little room for expansion," said James. "During the past year, growth was led by developing countries, namely Brazil, which posted an impressive 3.7 million hectare or 10 percent increase, reaching 40.3 million total hectares. During the next year, growth is expected to continue in developing countries – and Brazil will continue to lead the way, consistently closing the gap with the United States."

Success in developing countries can often be attributed to public/private partnerships. For example, Brazil, in cooperation with BASF, has developed and approved a herbicide-tolerant soybean that is ready for commercialization, having successfully completed all steps necessary for development and deployment of the product. Such partnerships instill pride which generates confidence and incentive necessary for success.

EMBRAPA in Brazil, using entirely national resources, has also developed and achieved approval of virus-resistant beans, which is an important contribution to sustainability.

Breaking the impasse to approve biotech crops

Developing countries are continuing to push forward with biotech research/development and commercialization, and have demonstrated the political willpower to approve new biotech crop traits, the report noted. Approvals in 2013 include:

  • Bangladesh approved its first biotech crop, biotech eggplant (Brinjal), developed through a public-private partnership with an Indian company, Mahyco. Bangladesh serves as an exemplary model for other small and poor countries – it broke the impasse of the approval process to commercialize biotech eggplant in both India and the Philippines. Bangladesh is also pursuing approval of Golden Rice and biotech potato.
  • Indonesia approved drought tolerant sugarcane for food use, with plans to cultivate in 2014.
  • Panama approved planting of biotech maize.

Continued developments in biotech crop technology combined with increased adoption by small and poor farmers are important factors in the future of global biotech crop adoption. Substantial developments in 2013 include:   

  • In Africa, Burkina Faso and Sudan increased biotech cotton hectarage by an impressive 50 percent and 300 percent, respectively. Also, seven additional countries are conducting biotech crop field trials as the penultimate step to approval for commercialization. These countries include: Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda.
  • The Philippines is nearing the completion of its field trials with Golden Rice.

The lack of appropriate, science-based, cost- and time-effective regulatory systems continues to be the major constraint to adoption in Africa (and across the world).

Status of biotech crops in the European Union

The modest hectarage in the European Union (EU) was up 15 percent between 2012 and 2013. Five EU countries planted 148,013 hectares of biotech maize, up 18,942 hectares from 2012. Spain led the EU with a record 136,962 hectares of biotech maize, up 18 percent since 2012. Romania maintained the same hectarage as 2012. Portugal, Czechia and Slovakia planted fewer hectares of biotech maize than 2012, which the report attributed to burdensome EU reporting procedures for farmers.

Biotech crops benefit food security, sustainability and the environment

Between 1996 and 2012, biotech crops have made positive contributions through: decreased production costs and increased productivity (estimated at 377 million tons) valued at US $117 billion; environmental benefits by eliminating the need for 497 million kg (a.i.) of pesticides; reduced CO2 emissions by 27 billion kg in 2012 alone (equivalent to removing 12 million cars from the road for one year); conserving biodiversity by saving 123 million hectares of land from being placed in agricultural production during the period 1996 to 2012; and alleviating poverty for 16.5 million small farmers and farm families, totaling more than 65 million people.

By the numbers

  • United States continued to be the lead country with 70.1 million hectares, with 90 percent adoption across all crops.
  • Brazil ranked second for the fifth consecutive year, increasing its hectarage of biotech crops more than any other country – an impressive record increase of 3.7 million hectares or 10 percent from 2012.
  • Argentina retained its third place with 24.4 million hectares.
  • India, which displaced Canada for the fourth place, had a record 11 million hectares of biotech cotton with an adoption rate of 95 percent.
  • Canada was fifth at 10.8 million hectares with decreased plantings of canola but maintained a high adoption rate of 96 percent.

For more information or the executive summary, visit www.isaaa.org.

About ISAAA:

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 knowledge and crop biotechnology applications. Clive James, Emeritus Chairman and Founder of ISAAA, has lived and/or worked for the past 30 years in the developing countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa, devoting his efforts to agricultural research and development issues with a focus on crop biotechnology and global food security.

 

SOURCE International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA)

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
Advances in technology and ubiquitous connectivity have made the utilization of a dispersed workforce more common. Whether that remote team is located across the street or country, management styles/ approaches will have to be adjusted to accommodate this new dynamic. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sagi Brody, Chief Technology Officer at Webair Internet Development Inc., focused on the challenges of managing remote teams, providing real-world examples that demonstrate what works and what do...
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection.
In most cases, it is convenient to have some human interaction with a web (micro-)service, no matter how small it is. A traditional approach would be to create an HTTP interface, where user requests will be dispatched and HTML/CSS pages must be served. This approach is indeed very traditional for a web site, but not really convenient for a web service, which is not intended to be good looking, 24x7 up and running and UX-optimized. Instead, talking to a web service in a chat-bot mode would be muc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
As someone who has been dedicated to automation and Application Release Automation (ARA) technology for almost six years now, one of the most common questions I get asked regards Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Specifically, people want to know whether release automation is still needed when a PaaS is in place, and why. Isn't that what a PaaS provides? A solution to the deployment and runtime challenges of an application? Why would anyone using a PaaS then need an automation engine with workflow ...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Predictive analytics tools monitor, report, and troubleshoot in order to make proactive decisions about the health, performance, and utilization of storage. Most enterprises combine cloud and on-premise storage, resulting in blended environments of physical, virtual, cloud, and other platforms, which justifies more sophisticated storage analytics. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Peter McCallum, Vice President of Datacenter Solutions at FalconStor, will discuss using predictive analytics to ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
CIOs and those charged with running IT Operations are challenged to deliver secure, audited, and reliable compute environments for the applications and data for the business. Behind the scenes these tasks are often accomplished by following onerous time-consuming processes and often the management of these environments and processes will be outsourced to multiple IT service providers. In addition, the division of work is often siloed into traditional "towers" that are not well integrated for cro...