21.02.2013 - Global acreage of biotech crops have increased by 6% last year. Europe contributes only 0.075%.
Brussels/Manila - Genetically modified (GM) soybeans, maize, cotton and rapeseed were planted on 170.3 million hectares last year, according to figures from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA). However, the adoption of biotech crops has become slower. After double digit growth rates three years ago, this year the cultivation area increased only by 6 percent or 10.3 million hectares compared to 2011.
However, Europe remains a minor player in the growing market for GMOs due to public hostility to GMOs. The EU countries grew 129,071 hectares of Bt maize, about 14,000 hectares more than in 2011. Spain remained the leading EU country for GMO acreage with 116,306 hectares in 2012. Poland discontinued the planting of biotech maize. The US (69.5m ha, +0.7%), Brazil (36.6m ha, +20,8%), Argentina (23.9m ha, +0,8%), Canada (11.6m ha, +11,5), and India (10.6m ha, +1,8%) were the leading GMO producers. Global Adoption of GM soybeans (+8%), cotton (+7%), maize (+4%), and rapeseed (+5%) increased as compared to 2011.
"There is one principal and overwhelming reason that underpins the trust and confidence of farmers in biotechnology: biotech crops deliver substantial, and sustainable, socio-economic and environmental benefits," stressed ISAAA chief Clive James. In fact, German BASF and Monsanto both filed for US approval of the first drought-tolerant crop last year. However, the US Department of Agriculture recently delayed the approval of new herbicide-tolerant GMOs because weeds are becoming more and more resistant to the herbicide Glyphosate, which is marketed together with Glyphosate-tolerant GMOs since 1996.
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