A study released today by International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications reports a 13% increase in global biotech crop area, as 10.3 million farmers planted 102 million hectares of biotech crops worldwide in 2006.
In an ISAAA teleconference, Dr. Clive James, chair of the ISAAA Board of Directors, related the growth of biotechnology in the 22 countries that grow biotech crops. James credits the
For the first time this year,
"In turn," he says, "the increase in yield from Bt cotton has been a major contributor to increased cotton exports from
"Biotech sits at the nexus" of the expanding biofuels market, James says, because it can help to produce more fuel per acre. However, in promoting biotech crops for fuel versus for food and feed, "we have to be careful in food insecure countries," James says.
One of the greatest virtues of biotech crops is to reduce global poverty by assisting poor farmers in developing countries, James says. Ravinder Brar, a widowed mother who farms biotech cotton in
"More than 90 percent or 9.3 million farmers growing biotech crops last year were small, resource-poor farmers from the developing world, allowing biotechnology to make a modest contribution to the alleviation of their poverty," James says. "Millions of small, resource-poor farmers will turn to the potential biotech crops offer in the next decade."