New Worldwide Studies Find Significant Benefits From Biotech Crops: GMO cultivation up 15 percent in Europe
Brussels, Belgium — 13 February 2014 - This week, two independent reports published by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) confirmed the positive benefits plant biotechnology has on farmers worldwide, and the potential impact it can have on helping farmers adapt to and mitigate climate change conditions in 2050.
In the European Union, new data showed that Spain leads the five EU countries planting GM crops with a record 136,962 hectares of biotech maize, up 18 percent since 2012. The other countries are Romania, Portugal, Czech Republic and Slovakia.
“The increase of GMO cultivation by 15 percent in Europe for a similar crop than the one discussed on 11 February flies in the face of claims that Europe doesn’t want or need GMOs. The evidence supports that there are farmers who need, chose and use these products when they are available, and when democratic choices are guaranteed. The fact that policy makers don’t make decisions on dossiers despite EFSA concluding products are safe, supposedly because of lack of public trust, decreases public trust in the products and perpetuates the vicious circle of: no vote, no trust, no vote. There is a need for leadership by policy makers to take decisions on products that some farmers would choose if they had a choice,” said Nathalie Moll, EuropaBio’s Secretary General. “In Europe, Spain is clearly leading the path with a proven record of benefits to farmers and society as a whole; since 1998, thanks to Bt maize cultivation, maize imports into Spain have reduced by more than 853,000 tonnes”.
According to ISAAA’s annual global biotech crop acreage report, which was released today in Beijing, more than 18 million farmers are planting biotech crops on 175 million hectares. ISAAA reported that smallholder farmers in developing countries can especially benefit from plant biotechnology as they face the most extreme food security and productivity challenges. Of the farmers planting biotech crops, more than 90 percent, or 16.5 million, are small-scale and resource-poor farmers. Of the 27 countries planting, 19 are developing countries.
Also this week, IFPRI published a first-of-its-kind study that closely examines the impact of 11 agricultural technologies on crop productivity, food prices, and natural resources in 2050 under climate change conditions. The study found that farmers will need to integrate multiple technologies into their cropping systems in order to produce the largest yields at the lowest prices to consumers. IFPRI concluded that when fully adopted by farmers:
- No-till farming, which has been enabled through plant biotechnology, has the potential to increase maize yields by 67 percent on irrigated hectares.
- Heat-tolerant wheat varieties could increase yields by 23 percent on irrigated hectares.
- Nitrogen-use efficient traits could increase rice crop yields by 22 percent on rainfed hectares.
A full copy of the IFPRI report, Food Security in a World of Natural Resource Scarcity: The Role of Agricultural Technologies, is available online at http://www.ifpri.org/publication/food-security-world-natural-resource-scarcity. More information about the ISAAA report is available online at www.isaaa.org.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Communications Manager Green Biotechnology Europe, EuropaBio
Telephone: +32 2 735 03 13 /
Mobile: +32 473 33 48 75
For further information:
- Report '15 years of Bt maize cultivation in Spain : Economic, social and environmental benefits' published by Antama Foundation:http://fundacion-antama.org/el-cultivo-de-maiz-bt-ha-permitido-la-reduccion-de-las-importaciones-de-maiz-en-espana-en-mas-de-853-mil-toneladas-desde-1998/
- Pocket guide to GM crops and policies: http://www.europabio.org/positions/pocket-guide-gm-crops-and-policies
- Check video interviews and other digital materials on http://growingvoices.eu/
EuropaBio is the European Association for Bioindustries, bringing together bioscience companies from all fields of research and development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of biotechnology products. It has 56 corporate members, 14 associate members and Bio Regions and 19 National Biotechnology Associations- representing some 1800 small and medium sized enterprises across Europe.