Benefits of Bt maize in Spain (1998-2015). Benefits from an economic, social and environmental viewpoint.

23 November 2016 - To celebrate 18 years of continuous GM crop cultivation in Spain, the Spanish ANTAMA Foundation has published the report ´Benefits of Bt maize in Spain (1998-2015)' (see Spanish version here). The report includes an assessment and quantification of benefits from an economic, social and environmental viewpoint by Dr. Francisco J. Areal (Reading University, UK). The report shows that green biotech has had and continues to have a positive impact, including: 

  • higher yields where there are pest problems, varying on average between 7.38% and 10.53%. 
  • quality benefits linked to reduced mycotoxins.
  • economic benefits for farmers due to higher yields and a lower use and costs of inputs like crop protection products and fuel. 
  • social benefits for farmers due to increased flexibility and simplicity in crop management, including a reduction in time taken to inspect the farm to fight against the corn borer and apply insecticide treatments, also allowing for faster harvesting.
  • environmental benefits, including a smaller water footprint and a higher fixation of carbon with important other benefits for biodiversity. Bt maize has led to a lower use of inputs that would otherwise have been necessary, such as water for irrigation, energy, insecticides, and land. During the year 2015 alone, at least an additional 9,608 hectares of maize crops would have been required to attain the yields reached by the use of Bt corn in areas that were affected by the European corn borer in Spain. Bt maize cultivation in Spain has also yielded a net fixation of additional carbon of 849,935 t CO2 eq., which makes up for the emissions associated with 25,004 cars in Spain for a year. 
  • Bt maize has also allowed Spain to be less dependent on maize imports.

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