At Monsanto, we’re committed to sustainable agriculture to meet the needs of our growing population and also preserving the environment. Many tools that can help us achieve this goal, but one very important tool has enabled farmers from across the globe to be more productive and sustainable – biotechnology. We’ve seen the benefits of biotechnology firsthand, but instead of us telling you about it, we wanted to share the findings of a recent third-party study.
PG Economics Ltd. this week released a new study revealing the global economic and environmental impact of genetically modified crops (GM crops) since they were first widely adopted nearly 20 years ago. Specifically, the study found:
- GM crops contributed to significantly reducing the release of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural practices, such as using less fuel and additional soil storage from reduced tillage. In 2012, the combined GM crop-related carbon dioxide emission savings were equal to removing 11.88 million cars from the road.
- The technology in GM crops that enables plants to tolerate insects and weeds has resulted in a significant reduction in pesticide use over the past 20 years. As a result, from 1996-2012, GMO crops helped farmers reduce pesticides by more than 1 billion pounds.
- GM crops are allowing farmers to grow more without using additional land. If GM crops had not been available to farmers using the technology in 2012, maintaining global production levels would have required additional plantings equivalent to nine percent of the arable land in the United States.
- Biotechnology has had a positive impact on farmers’ incomes. Since 1996, farmers who grew GM crops across the globe earned $116.8 billon, and $18.8 billion in 2012 alone.
The study also concluded that GM crops are allowing farmers to grow more with less land. This is an important finding as we know the amount of arable land is declining. In fact, over about 90 years, we’ll go from having an average of one acre of farmland per person, per year, to less than a third of an acre.
You can find the full report on PG Economics website and below is an infographic that highlights a few of the findings. If you’re interested in learning more about the many benefits of biotechnology, we’ve outlined a few other third-party studies in a recent blog post.