A new report issued last week found that biotech crops have significantly reduced agriculture’s environmental impact, have stimulated economic growth and have helped all types of farmers in the 26 countries where the technology is used.
The peer-reviewed report, released by PG Economics Limited in the United Kingdom, said biotech crops have allowed farmers to reduce tillage, curtail pesticide use and grow more on less land. That has helped farmers of all sizes, as well as the environment, said Graham Brookes, director of PG Economics.
The PG Economic report found:
• From 1996 to 2015, farmers who planted biotech crops applied 8 percent less crop protection products than they did before adopting the new technology.
• Biotech crops helped farmers to grow more without needing to open up additional land. For example, if crop biotechnology had not been available to farmers in 2015, maintaining global production levels would have required the planting of an additional nearly 20.8 million acres of soybeans, 18.3 million acres of corn, 7.4 million acres of cotton and 1.73 million acres of canola.
The PG Economics report also found that crop biotechnology supports improved livelihoods, especially for farmers with small holdings in developing countries. The technology helps farmers increase yields and earn more from their land, the report said. In 2015 alone, the report said, the net farm income benefit of biotech crops worldwide was $15.5 billion.