The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) released its annual report on the global status of commercialized biotech crops in 2011. The ISAAA report discusses major developments impacting biotech crop adoption and its implications for the future, including this year’s 8% increase of hectarage dedicated to biotech crops and numerous advancements made by millions of farmers in developing countries. The technology plays an important role in feeding the world, which reached an unprecedented 7 billion people in October of last year.
Take a look at the full ISAAA report below to find out more about the 29 countries that have adopted biotech crops since they were first planted 15 years ago and the growth of agricultural biotechnology in the United States and worldwide.
Some highlights from the 2011 ISAAA report include:
- Land dedicated to biotech crops reached a record 160 million hectares this year, an 8% increase from 2010.
- A total of 16.7 million farmers planted biotech crops in 2011, up 1.3 million from 2010.
- Of the 29 countries planting biotech crops in 2011, developing countries grew nearly 50% of global biotech crops in 2011 and are expected to exceed industrial countries’ hectarage for the first time in 2012.
- The top five countries in biotech developing -China, India, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa -grew 44% of global biotech crops in 2011, and have roughly 40% of world population.
- More than half the world’s population, 4 billion people, lives in countries planting biotech crops.
- The United States continued to be the lead producer of biotech crops with 69.0 million hectares planted in 2011, seeing particularly strong growth in maize and cotton.
- For the third consecutive year, the use of genetically modified seeds grew fasted in Brazil, with 4.9 million hectares planted in 2011.
- A total of 60 countries have granted regulatory approvals for biotech crops for import for food and feed use and for release into the environment since 1996.
- Biotech soybean continued to be the principal biotech crop in 2011, occupying 75.4 million hectares or 47% of global biotech area, followed by biotech maize at 32%, biotech at 15% and biotech canola at 5% of the global biotech crop area.
- In total, 7 million small farmers in China and another 7 million small farmers in India planted a combined total of 14.5 million hectares of biotech crops, contributing to significant increases in incomes and cutting in half the use of insecticide sprays.
- Africa planted 2.5 million hectares of biotech crops in 2011, and continues to make advancements with field trials focusing on priority staple crops including maize, cassava, banana and sweet potato.
- The overall increase in hectarage from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 160 million hectares in 2011 makes biotech crops the fastest adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.