The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) released its latest report, which indicated that the worldwide adoption of biotech crops continued to increase in 2006. Moreover, the global area of biotech crops continued to climb for the tenth consecutive year at a sustained double-digit growth rate of 13%, reaching 252 million acres.
2006 was a year of milestones for biotech crops. For the first time, the number of farmers growing biotech crops (10.3 million) exceeded 10 million, up from 8.5 million farmers in 2005. The number of resource-poor farmers planting biotech crops increased from 7.7 million farmers in 2005 to 9.3 million in 2006.
The accumulated acreage of biotech crops from 1996 to 2006 exceeded 1.4 billion acres, with an unprecedented 60-fold increase between 1996 and 2006, making biotechnology the fastest adopted crop technology in recent history.
Additionally, the number of countries planting biotech crops increased from 21 to 22. Slovakia, part of the EU, planted Bt corn for the first time. Slovakia is the sixth country, of the 25 in the EU, to plant biotech crops.
The report concludes with an encouraging future forecast for biotech crops. It is expected that the number of countries adopting the major biotech crops will continue to grow as will the global acreage of these crops. The outlook for the next decade of commercialization, 2006 to 2015, projects close to 500 million acres of global biotech crops with at least 20 million farmers growing biotech crops in roughly 40 countries. The outlook for the next decade of commercialization points to continued growth.
To view the ISAAA report, visit their Web site at http://www.isaaa.org. For background information on food biotechnology, go to www.ific.org and search “biotech.”