GM Crops Have Significant Economic and Environmental Impacts

July 1, 2009 07:00 PM
 

Rachel Duff, Farm Journal Intern


Farmers have achieved impacts on the environment and the economy simply by planting GM crops. A new report on GM crops was recently published by Graham Brookes and Peter Barfoot, PG Economics Ltd., from the United Kingdom. The report looks at the global impacts of GM crops on the economy and the environment.
 
Income Benefits
In 2007, the global farm income benefit from biotech crops was $10.1 billion. U.S. had the largest share of GM crops with 50%. Argentina, India, Canada, Brazil and China held the other top spots in 2007, according to the report.
 
Soybeans had the largest gains in farm income, mostly from the savings in input costs as a result of GM crops. U.S., Brazil and Argentina were the leading soybean producers that benefitted from the savings.
 
Benefits Farmers, Large and Small
The size of the farm hasn't been a factor affecting the use of the technology, according to the report. In 2007, more than 90% of the 12 million farmers using biotech crops were from developing countries.
 
Developing countries in the report included:
  • All South American countries
  • Mexico
  • India
  • China
  • The Philippines
  • South Africa
 Environmental Benefits
There was a reduced fuel use from less frequent herbicide or insecticide applications and a reduction in the energy use in soil cultivation. The fuel savings and conservation, reduced-till and no-till farming systems, have reduced the carbon dioxide emissions, according to the report.

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