Biotech crops are the fastest adopted crop technology in recent times. In 2012, a record 17.3 million farmers grew biotech crops.

FACT #1: 2012 was the 17th year of successful commercialization of biotech crops.

Biotech crops were first commercialized in 1996. Hectarage of biotech crops increased every single year between 1996 to 2012 with 12 years of double digit growth rates, reflecting the confidence and trust of millions of risk-averse farmers around the world, in both developing and industrial countries.

FACT #2: Biotech crop hectares increased by an unprecedented 100–fold from 1.7 million hectares in 1996, to over 170 million hectares in 2012.

This makes biotech crops the fastest adopted crop technology in recent times – the reason – they deliver benefits. In 2012, hectarage of biotech crops grew at an annual growth rate of 6%, up 10.3 million from 160 million hectares in 2011. Millions of farmers in ~30 countries worldwide, have made more than 100 million independent decisions to plant an accumulated hectarage of ~1.5 billion hectares, equivalent to 50% more than the total land mass of the US or China; this reflects the fact that biotech crops deliver sustainable and substantial, socioeconomic and environmental benefits.

FACT #3:  For the first time in 2012, developing countries planted more hectares than industrial countries.

Notably, developing countries grew more, 52%, of global biotech crops in 2012 than industrial countries at 48%. In 2012, growth rate for biotech crops was at least three times as fast, and five times as large in developing countries, at 11% or 8.7 million hectares, versus 3% or 1.6 million hectares in industrial countries.

 

Want access to the very latest in agriculture news each day? Sign up for the Western Farm Press Daily e-mail newsletter.

 

FACT #4: Number of countries growing biotech crops.

Of the 28 countries which planted biotech crops in 2012, 20 were developing and 8 were industrial countries; two new countries, Sudan (Bt cotton) and Cuba (Bt maize) planted biotech crops for the first time in 2012. Germany and Sweden could not plant the biotech potato "Amflora" because it ceased to be marketed. Stacked traits are an important feature – 13 countries planted biotech crops with two or more traits in 2012, and notably, 10 of the 13 were developing countries – 43.7 million hectares, or more than a quarter, of the 170 million hectares were stacked in 2012.

FACT #5: Number of farmers growing biotech crops.

In 2012, a record 17.3 million farmers, up 0.6 million from 2011, grew biotech crops – remarkably over 90%, or over 15 million, were small resource-poor farmers in developing countries. Farmers are the masters of risk-aversion and in 2012, a record 7.2 million small farmers in China and another 7.2 million in India, elected to plant almost 15 million hectares of Bt cotton, because of the significant benefits it offers. In 2012 over one-third of a million small farmers in the Philippines benefited from
biotech maize.