Is the United States is the only country growing and consuming biotech crops?
According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), of the 29 countries planting biotech crops in 2011, it’s noteworthy that 19 were developing countries and 10 were industrial countries. The top 10 countries each grew more than one million hectares providing a broad-based worldwide foundation for diversified growth in the future; in fact, the top nine each grew more than 2 million hectares.
More than half the world’s population, 60 percent or about four billion people, live in the 29 countries planting biotech crops. Developing countries grew close to 50 percent (49.875 percent) of global biotech crops in 2011, and for the first time are expected to exceed industrial countries’ hectarage in 2012. This is contrary to the prediction of critics who, prior to the commercialization of the technology in 1996, prematurely declared that biotech crops were only for industrial countries and would never be accepted and adopted by developing countries.
In 2011, the growth rate for biotech crops was twice as fast and twice as large in developing countries, at 11 percent or 8.2 million hectares, versus 5 percent or 3.8 million hectares in industrial countries. During the period 1996-2010, cumulative economic benefits were the same for developing and developed countries (US$39 billion). For 2010 alone, economic benefits for developing countries were higher at US$7.7 billion compared with US$6.3 billion for developed countries.
This myth is closely connected to another one: Do other countries ban biotech crops and foods are because they’re unsafe?
There is widespread agreement among scientists on the safety of biotech crops and foods. More than 3,400 renowned scientists worldwide have signed a declaration in support of agricultural biotechnology and its safety to humans, animals and the environment.
Those countries that refuse biotech foods and crops do so because of political, cultural and socioeconomic reasons that are not based on any scientific evidence of the safety of agricultural biotechnology.