For the purpose of the database, socio-economic benefits refer to benefits offered to a community as a whole through the use of GM crops, and can include long-term impacts on the prevailing economic conditions, on levels of education, on the family unit or on employment levels.
Currently available GM crops provide real economic benefits in the form of lower production costs, improved yields and simplified crop management. They offer growers peace of mind and can free their time and that of their families so they can choose to spend it on activities other than crop production.
The database contains 242 papers and supporting references that have been identified as having information on Socio-Economic Benefits of Biotechnology.
The experience of the first 20 years of commercialization, 1996 to 2015, has confirmed that the early promise of crop biotechnology has been fulfilled. Biotech crops have delivered substantial agronomic, environmental, economic, health and social benefits to farmers and, increasingly, to society at large. The rapid adoption of biotech crops, during the initial 20 years of commercialization, 1996 to 2015, reflects the substantial multiple benefits realized by both large and small farmers in industrial and developing countries, which have grown biotech crops commercially. Small farmers in developing countries generally tend to benefit most from biotech crops because insect and disease protected crops provide new and previously unavailable tools for these farmers to protect their crops. Additionally, pest problems are often a greater risk to plants in developing countries and can result in greater yield reductions if left uncontrolled.
Biotech crops have expanded beyond the big four (corn, soybean, cotton, and canola) to give more choices for many of the world’s consumers. These biotech crops include sugar beet, papaya, squash, eggplant, potatoes that are already in the market, as well as apples which will be in the market in 2017. Potato is the fourth important staple crop in the world and eggplant is the number one vegetable consumed in Asia. Non-bruising and non-browning apples and potatoes can contribute to the reduction of food waste. Additionally, research done by public sector institutions include crops such as rice, banana, potato, wheat, chickpea, pigeon pea, mustard and sugarcane at advanced stages of evaluation, and are likely to provide even more diverse offerings to consumers, especially those in developing countries.