Genetically modified (GM) crop use in Colombia: farm level economic and environmental contributions

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Abstract or Summary

This study assesses the economic and environmental impacts that have arisen from the adoption and use of genetically modified (GM) cotton and maize in Colombia in the fifteen years since GM cotton was first planted in Colombia in 2003. A total of 1.07 million hectares have been planted to cotton and maize containing GM traits since 2003, with farmers benefiting from an increase in income of US $301.7 million. For every extra US $1 spent on this seed relative to conventional seed, farmers have gained an additional US $3.09 in extra income from growing GM cotton and an extra US $5.25 in extra income from growing GM maize. These income gains have mostly arisen from higher yields (+30.2% from using stacked (herbicide tolerant and insect resistant cotton and +17.4% from using stacked maize). The cotton and maize seed technology have reduced insecticide and herbicide spraying by 779,400 kg of active ingredient (−19%) and, as a result, decreased the environmental impact associated with herbicide and insecticide use on these crops (as measured by the indicator, the Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ)) by 26%. The technology has also facilitated cuts in fuel use, resulting in a reduction in the release of greenhouse gas emissions from the GM cotton and maize cropping area and contributed to saving scarce land resources.

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