Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2015

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Abstract or Summary

Following a remarkable run of 19 years of consecutive growth from 1996 to 2014, with 12 years of double-digit growth, the global hectarage of biotech crops peaked at 181.5 million hectares in 2014, compared with 179.7 million hectares in 2015, equivalent to a net marginal decrease of 1 percent. This change is principally due to an overall decrease in total crop hectarage, associated with low prices for commodity crops in 2015.

Additional highlights from ISAAA’s 2015 report include:

  • New biotech crops were approved and/or commercialized in several countries including the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Canada and Myanmar.
  • The United States saw a number of firsts including the commercialization of new products such as:
    –>Innate™ Generation 1 potatoes, with lower levels of acrylamide, a potential carcinogen, and resistance to bruising. InnateTM Generation 2, approved in 2015, also has late blight resistance. It is noteworthy that the potato is the fourth most important food crop in the world.
    –>Arctic® Apples that do not brown when sliced.
    –>The first non-transgenic genome-edited crop to be commercialized globally, SU Canola™, was planted in the United States.
    –>The first-time approval of a GM animal food product, GM salmon, for human consumption.

  • Biotech crops with multiple traits, often called “stacked traits,” were planted on 58.5 million hectares, representing 33 percent of all biotech hectares planted and a 14 percent year-over-year increase.
  • Vietnam planted a stacked-trait biotech Bt and herbicide-tolerant maize as its first biotech crop.
  • Biotech DroughtGard™ maize, first planted in the United States in 2013, increased 15-fold from 50,000 hectares in 2013 to 810,000 hectares reflecting high farmer acceptance.
  • Sudan increased Bt cotton hectarage by 30 percent to 120,000 hectares, while various factors precluded a higher hectarage in Burkina Faso.
  • Eight African countries field-tested, pro-poor, priority African crops, the penultimate step prior to approval.
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