Biotech crops in US hit plateau as Asian farmers increase planting

Biotech crops in the US seem to have hit a plateau, but farmers are planting more GM corn and rice in smaller markets in Asia, notably China, according to a new industry report.

Farmers around the world grew a record 175.2m hectares (433m acres) of biotech crops in 2013, up 3% from 2012, with US and Brazilian farmers the dominant users, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), a pro-biotech industry organisation.

Critics of GM crops accuse the ISAAA of inflating figures in the EU and developing countries to show growing support for biotech crops.

“Biotech crops are demonstrating their global value as a tool for resource-poor farmers who face decreased water supplies and increased weed and pest pressures — and the effects of climate change will only continue to expand the need for this technology,” said ISAAA chairman Clive James.

Farmers in the US planted an estimated 70.1m hectares, or 173m acres, last year with corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, alfalfa and other genetically altered crops, the report said. That was up less than 1% over 2012 plantings.

In Brazil, farmers planted 40.3m hectares, or 99.5m acres to biotech soy, corn and cotton, up 10% over 2012.

— Reuters


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