Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2010

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Abstract or Summary

  • Strong double digit-growth of 10% in 2010 reaching 148 million hectares – notably, the 14 million hectare increase is the second largest increase in 15 years. “Trait hectares” grew from 180 million hectares in 2009, to 205 million hectares in 2010; an increase of 14%, or 25 million ”trait hectares”.

  • Number of countries planting biotech crops soared to a record 29, up from 25 in 2009 – for the first time, the top 10 countries each grew >1 million hectares. More than half the world’s population, 59% or ~4 billion people, live in the 29 countries planting biotech crops.

  • Three new countries, Pakistan, Myanmar and Sweden, reported planting biotech crops officially for the first time in 2010, and Germany also resumed planting.

  • Of the 29 biotech crop countries in 2010, 19 were developing and only 10 were industrial countries; in addition, another 30 imported biotech crop products for a total of 59 countries approving use of biotech crops, either for planting or importing; 75% of the world’s population live in the 59 countries.

  • In 2010, a record 15.4 million farmers grew biotech crops – notably over 90%, or 14.4 million, were small resource-poor farmers in developing countries; number of beneficiary farmers is conservative due to spill-over of benefits from biotech crops to conventional crops. Remarkably, since 1996, farmers worldwide elected to make ~100 million independent decisions to plant and replant more biotech crops every single year, because of the significant benefits they offer.

  • Developing countries grew 48% of global biotech crops in 2010 and will exceed industrial countries hectarage before 2015. Biotech growth rate was much faster in developing countries, 17% or 10.2 million hectares, versus 5% or 3.8 million hectares in industrial countries. The five lead developing countries in biotech crops are China and India in Asia, Brazil and Argentina in Latin America, and South Africa on the continent of Africa.
  • For the first time, biotech crops occupied a substantial 10% of the ~1.5 billion hectares of global cropland; >50% of global cropland is in the 29 countries planting biotech crops in 2010.

  • Stacked traits are an important feature of biotech crops – 11 countries planted biotech crops with two or more traits in 2010, and 8 were developing countries – 32.2 million hectares or 22% of the 148 million hectares were stacked in 2010.

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