Report Illustrates Continued Growth of Agricultural Biotechnology
United States Remains Largest Planter with 154.4 Million Acres
The Council for Biotechnology Information welcomed a report released February 11 that confirmed that the use and benefits of agricultural biotechnology continue to grow in the United States and around the world.
In its annual report, "Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops 2008," the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) stated that agricultural biotechnology is being used by 13.3 million farmers in 25 countries, including 1.3 million farmers in three new countries that adopted biotechnology crops in 2008 — Burkina Faso, Egypt, and Bolivia.
Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops 2008
The report found that the United States remained the largest planter of biotech crops with 154.4 million acres planted in 2008 including soybean, maize, cotton, canola, squash, papaya, alfalfa and a new herbicide-tolerant sugar beet.
Nearly 637,531 acres or 59 percent of the U.S. crop sugar beet were planted using the herbicide-tolerant variety — the highest launch adoption level ever, "signaling a strong desire among growers for the technology."
The report also highlighted the benefits of agricultural biotechnology in alleviating two growing global threats — water scarcity and climate change — and the environmental benefits the technology offers.
The study states, "Biotech crops have already substantially reduced agriculture's environmental footprint by reducing pesticides, saving on fossil fuel use and decreasing carbon dioxide emissions and soil loss through less plowing. In particular, from 1996 to 2007 biotech crops saved 359,000 metric tons of pesticides [and] in 2007 alone, carbon dioxide savings were 14.2 billion kg, equivalent to removing 6.3 million cars from the road."
"Most importantly the ISAAA Report makes it clear that this technology can be useful for everyone regardless of economic status with 15 of 25 countries being from developing nations. Another important milestone is the introduction of a new crop in 2008 such as sugarbeet. The Report shows the continued interest in using advanced tools for sustainable food production worldwide and that innovation in biotechnology is no longer limited to a few countries and corporations."
Dr. Allen Van Deyzne
University of California, Davis
Dr. Van Deynze, senior scientist at the University of California, Davis, has been working in biotechnology research, plant breeding and regulations for over 13 years
"The 2008 ISAAA report on the global status of biotech crops shows that this technology has passed the tipping point and adoption will only accelerate. The report gives evidence that farmers around the world have seen increases in yield, reduction in costs, improvements in crop management and the sustainability of agriculture, and it has all occurred without any adverse effects. It is especially heartening that the technology makes its greatest impact for resource poor farmers in the developing world."
Dr. Bruce Chassy
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dr. Chassy is Professor of Food Safety and Nutritional Sciences who specializes in safety assessment of foods, including genetically engineered foods. He has focused in recent years on the use of biotechnology and nutritionally-enhanced foods to overcome malnutrition.
"Particularly noteworthy are the contributions that biotech crops are making to increasing the sustainability of agriculture through soil conservation, reduced fuel use, decreased pesticide applications, and higher productivity. Equally important are the economic advantages resulting from biotech crops, particularly for low resource farmers, and the maintenance of productivity to keep food prices affordable. This report documents the current positive impact of biotech crops and the potential for them to contribute even more in the future."
Dr. Kent Bradford
University of California, Davis
Dr. Bradford is Professor and Director of the Seed Biotechnology Center
ABOUT THE COUNCIL FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY INFORMATION
The Council for Biotechnology Information communicates science-based information about the benefits and safety of agricultural biotechnology and its contributions to sustainable development. For more information, visit www.whybiotech.com.