New Delhi: The global GM crops hectarages surge to a new peak of 185.1 million hectares in 2016 showcasing the 110-fold increase in adoption rate of these crops globally in just 21 years of commercialization growing from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 185.1 million hectares in 2016. The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA)’s report, “Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2016,” continues to demonstrate the long-standing benefits of biotech crops for farmers in developing and industrialized countries, as well as consumer benefits of recently approved and commercialized varieties.
“Biotech crops have become a vital agricultural resource for farmers around the world because of the immense benefits for improved productivity and profitability, as well as conservation efforts,” said ISAAA Chair of the Board, Paul S. Teng. “With the commercial approvals and plantings of new varieties of biotech potatoes and apples, consumers will begin to enjoy direct benefits of biotechnology with produce that is not likely to spoil or be damaged, which in turn has the potential to substantially reduce food waste and consumer grocery costs.”
Examining other benefits of biotechnology, ISAAA reports that the adoption of biotech crops has reduced CO2 emissions equal to removing approximately 12 million cars from the road annually in recent years; conserved biodiversity by removing 19.4 million hectares of land from agriculture in 2015; and decreased the environmental impact with a 19% reduction in herbicide and insecticide use. Additionally, in developing countries, planting biotech crops has helped alleviate hunger by increasing the incomes for 18 million small farmers and their families, bringing improved financial stability to more than 65 million people.
As per ISAAA report, the year 2016 was the turning point for GM crops in India as it transcended from the shadows of the moratorium on Bt brinjal imposed in 2010 to the ultimate step of commercial release of GM mustard in 2016.