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Independent.ie

Wednesday 26 July 2017

The world's land area covered by GM crops is up 110-fold since 1996

The 185.1 million hectares of GM crops were grown by 26 countries, of which 19 were developing and 7 industrial countries.
The 185.1 million hectares of GM crops were grown by 26 countries, of which 19 were developing and 7 industrial countries.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The amount of GM crops being grown worldwide has increased 110-fold in the past 20 years, new figures show.

Every year, since 1996 the amount of land used to grow GM crops has increased, with the exception of 2015 when the amount of acerage under GM crops was back on 2014.

In 1996, the global hectarage of Genetically Modified (GM) crops was 1.7m hectares in 1996 - that number was 185.1m hectares in 2016, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA)

It says that a year after the second decade of commercialisation of biotech/GM crops in 2016, 26 countries grew 185.1m hectares of biotech crops – an increase of 5.4m hectares or 3pc from 179.7m hectares in 2015.

It also goes on to say that except for 2015, this is the 20th series of increases every single year; and notably 12 of the 20 years were double-digit growth rates.

The 185.1m hectares of GM crops were grown by 26 countries, of which 19 were developing and seven industrial countries.

Developing countries grew 54pc (99.6m hectares) of the global GM crop area compared to 46pc (85.5m hectares) for industrial countries.

The US grew more GM crop in 2016 than any other country, with 72.9m hectares, followed by Brazil (49.1m hectares), Argentina (23.8m hectares), Canada (11.6m hectares) and India (10.8m hectares) for a total of 168.2m hectares, 91pc of the global hectarage.


The four major GM crops: soybean, maize, cotton, and canola, in decreasing area, were the most adopted biotech crops by 26 countries.

The area planted to GM soybean was the highest at 91.4m hectares, which is 50pc of the global hectarage of 185.1m hectares for all biotech crops. 

According to the ISAAA, GM crops have expanded beyond the big four (corn, soybean, cotton, and canola).

New 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.


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