Worldwide biotech crops experience near record growth

MANILA, Philippines, January 12, 2005, ISAAA Media Release - Biotech crops experienced the second highest hectarage growth on record in 2004 to reach 81million hectares
(200 million acres). According to a report released today, authored by Clive James chairman and founder of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), global area for biotech crops grew 20 percent in 2004 — an increase of 13.3 million hectares (32.9 million acres).

The study reported that approximately 8.25 million farmers in 17 countries planted biotech crops in 2004 — 1.25 million more farmers than planted biotech crops in 18 countries in 2003. Notably, 90 percent of these farmers were in developing countries. In fact, for the first time, the absolute growth in biotech crop area was higher in developing countries (7.2 million hectares) than in industrial countries (6.1 million hectares).

The number of “biotech mega-countries” (countries growing 50,000 hectares
or more biotech crops) increased from 10 to 14 in 2004 with the addition of Paraguay, Mexico, Spain and the Philippines reflecting the participation of a broader group of countries adopting biotech crops. The number of countries accounting for the majority of the global total of biotech crop area grew from five to eight and included the United States (59 percent of the global total), Argentina (20 percent), Canada (6 percent), Brazil (6 percent), China (5 percent), Paraguay (2 percent), India (1 percent) and South Africa (1 percent). In addition to Mexico, Spain and the Philippines, Uruguay, Australia and Romania complete the mega-country list.