Farm Ireland

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Poorer nations boost GM planting

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

World production of genetically modified crops grew by 7pc to 330m acres last year, the latest figures have revealed.

The number of farmers who planted GM crops grew from 13.3m in 2008 to 14m last year.

Significantly, 90pc of the 14m were described as small and resource-poor farmers from developing countries.

Brazil experienced the highest growth of any country, increasing its GM crop acreage by 35pc, says the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications.

The Brazilian jump from 5.6m ha to 21.4m ha saw the country overtake Argentina as the second largest GM grower.

The top eight countries, each growing more than 1m ha, were: USA (64m ha), Brazil (21.4m ha), Argentina (21.3m ha), India (8.4m ha), Canada (8.2m ha), China (3.7m ha), Paraguay (2.2m ha) and South Africa (2.1m ha).

Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa, recorded the largest percentage growth on record at 1,350pc. It increased its genetically modified cotton area from 8,500ha in 2008 to 115,000ha in 2009.

Six European countries planted 94,750ha of GM crops last year, down from seven countries and 107,719ha in 2008, as Germany discontinued its planting.

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