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Most Food Comes From Farms

Increase in farmers using GM crops globally

MORE farmers than ever are using genetically modified (GM) crops according to new figures.

29 January 2015 | By Olivia Midgley

Statistics from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), showed global adoption of GM crops reached 181.5 million hectares in 2014, an increase of 6 million hectares from the previous year.

The figures showed a notable increase in the number of farmers using GM crops, with 18m farmers now using biotechnology, up by 600,000 from 2013.

The areas planted with GM crops in emerging and developed countries exceeded those of industrialised countries for the first time since 1996, the ISAAA report said.

Bangladesh was able to successfully commercialise BT brinjal (aubergine) and is exploring GM cotton and rice. In Europe, Spain continued to lead the way with a record 31.6 per cent adoption despite bureaucratic pressures from the EU.

Chairman of abc Dr Julian Little said: “It is fantastic to see an increase in the number of farmers in the developing world enjoying the benefits of biotechnology, and the figures explode once and for all the myth that GM crops are all about big farming and big business.

“One of the major advantages of GM is that the technology is contained within the seed, and therefore is just as accessible to resource-poor small-scale cotton farmers in Sudan as it is to large-scale soy farmers in Brazil or the US.”

Dr Little said the ‘dysfunctional’ EU system was hampering European growers and pointed to a change in legislation last week which was primarily driven by a desire to make it easier for member states to ban particular GM crops on a national scale.

He added: “These effectively amount to a right to ban, rather than a right to grow for member states. As such, they will prevent many countries for reaping the benefits of these highly tested and regulated crops.”

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