GM crops on the rise

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

In 2007, farmers worldwide planted more than 12.3 million hectares of GM crops, bringing the total area up 12 % to more than 114.3 million hectares. GM crops currently account for 9 % of total land used for global primary crops. Four main crops continue to account for almost all GM production: soybean (51 %), corn (31 %), cotton (13 %), and canola (5 %). 23 countries were growing GM crops in 2007 with the USA being the global leader with half of all GM crop area (57.7 million hectares), reports the World Watch in “Vital Signs Online”. In the United States, GM crop production actually increased pesticide use by more than 4 % between 1996 and 2004, despite early signs that GM use might be tied to an overall decline.

The second and third largest countries for GM crop area are Argentina (19.1 million hectares in 2007), and Brazil (15.0 million hectares). India is now ranked fifth with 6.2 million hectares in 2007 dedicated to cotton. Although China was the first country to grow a commercial genetically modified crop, the added crop area rates there have significantly trailed those of India. In 2007, China had 3.8 million hectares of GM crops, including 300,000 new hectares.

"GM crops are definitely not a silver bullet," according to Alice McKeown, researcher for the Worldwatch Institute. "They sound good on paper, but we have yet to see glowing results. There are still many unanswered questions about GM crops, but the good news is that we have solutions to food security and other problems available today that we know work and are safe for humans and the environment, including organic farming."

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