More than 148 million hectares of biotech crops were planted in 2010. It was the 15th straight year of global growth in the amount of biotech crops being planted. The number of hectares planted in 2010 was an increase of 10%, up from the 7% growth seen in 2009.
Clive James, author of a report released Feb. 22 by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, says that accumulated biotech crops exceeded 1 billion hectares in 2010, which he says shows that biotech crops are here to stay. The number of countries planting biotech crops also increased in 2010 to 29 compared to 25 in 2009.
"Developing countries grew 48% of global biotech crops in 2010 and will exceed industrialized nations in their plantings of biotech crops by 2015," James said. "Clearly, the countries of Latin America and Asia will drive the most dramatic increases in global hectares planted to biotech crops during the remainder of the technology's second decade of commercialization."
China, India, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa are the five developing countries planting the most biotech crops, 63 million hectares, which is equivalent to 43% of the world's biotech planting.
"It's obvious that biotech crops are delivering value to more and more growers around the world," said Biotechnology Industry Organization executive vice president for food and agriculture Sharon Bomer Lauritsen. "Agricultural biotechnology provides solutions for today's growers in the form of plants that are more environmentally friendly while yielding more per acre, resisting diseases and insect pests and reducing farmers' production costs."
According to James, 12 more countries will be planting biotech crops by 2015 and the four most planted crops maize, soybeans, cotton and canola have the potential to double in the area planted. The commercialization of biotech rice and the development of drought tolerance as a trait in maize and several other crops was noted by ISAAA as catalysts for more widespread adoption of biotech crops in the future.