28 January 2015. Source: isaaa.org/resources/publications/briefs/49/pressrelease/default.asp
A record 181.5 million hectares of GM crops were grown across 28 countries in 2014 according to the latest report released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA). The 20 developing and eight industrial countries where GM crops are produced represent more than 60 per cent of the world’s population.
Since 1996, more than 10 food and fibre GM crops have been approved and commercialised around the world, ranging from major commodities such as soybean, corn and cotton, to fruits and vegetables like papaya, eggplant and, potato. The crops have been modified for traits such as drought tolerance, insect and disease resistance, herbicide tolerance and increased nutrition and food quality.
The USA once again dominates production, growing 73.1 million hectares of GM soybean, corn, cotton, canola, sugarbeet, alfalfa, papaya and squash, followed by Brazil and Argentina (soybean, corn and cotton), India (cotton) and Canada (canola, maize, soybean, sugar beet. Australia is ranked 13th in the list, growing approximately 0.5 million hectares of GM cotton and canola.
The report highlights key benefits derived from GM crops, including:
- alleviation of poverty and hunger by boosting the income of risk-averse small, resource-poor farmers around the world;
- increased production valued at US$133 billion;
- in the period 1996 to 2012 pesticide use decreased significantly saving approximately 500 million kg of active ingredient;
- in 2013 alone, crop plantings lowered carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to removing 12.4 million cars from the road for one year.