The latest annual update report of global biotech crop impacts shows the technology continues to provide important economic and environmental benefits and is making positive contributions to global food production and food security.

"Biotech crop adoption continues to contribute to reducing the release of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, decreasing pesticide spraying and significantly boosting farmers’ incomes, especially in developing countries” said Graham Brookes, director of PG Economics, co-author of the report. “The technology has also made important contributions to increasing crop yields, reducing risks, improving productivity and raising global production of key crops.”

Previewing the findings of the study, the key findings are:

• Biotech crops have contributed to significantly reducing the release of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural practices. This results from less fuel use and additional soil carbon storage from reduced tillage with biotech crops. In 2009, this was equivalent to removing 17.7 billion kg of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or equal to removing 7.8 million cars from the road for one year;

• Biotech crops have reduced pesticide spraying (1996-2009) by 393 million kg (-8.7 percent) and as a result decreased the environmental impact associated with herbicide and insecticide use on the area planted to biotech crops by 17.1 percent;

• Herbicide tolerant biotech crops have facilitated the adoption of no/reduced tillage production systems in many regions, especially South America. This has made important contributions to reducing soil erosion and improving soil moisture levels;