Publications: ISAAA Briefs
No. 24 - 2001
Chair, ISAAA Board of Directors
List of Tables and Figures
Global Area Transgenic Crops in 2001
Distribution of Transgenic Crops in Industrial and Developing Countries
Distribution of Transgenic Crops, by Country
Distribution of Transgenic Crops, by Crop
Distribution of Transgenic Crops, by Trait
Dominant Transgenic Crops in 2001
Global Adoption of Transgenic Soybean, Corn, Cotton and Canola
The estimated global area of transgenic or GM crops for 2001 is 52.6 million hectares (has.) or 130.0 million acres, grown by 5.5 million farmers. 2001 is the first year when the global area of GM crops has exceeded the historical milestone of 50 million has. The increase in area between 2000 and 2001 is 19%, equivalent to 8.4 million has, or 20.8 million acres. This increase of 8.4 million has. between 2000 and 2001 is almost twice the corresponding increase of 4.3 million has. between 1999 and 2001, which was equivalent to an 11% growth. During the six-year period 1996 to 2001, global area of transgenic crops increased more than 30-fold, from 1.7 million has. in 1996 to 52.6 million has. in 2001. More than one quarter of the global transgenic crop area of 52.6 million has. in 2001, equivalent to 13.5 million has., was grown in developing countries where growth continued to be strong. Whereas the absolute growth in GM crop area between 2000 and 2001 was twice as high in industrial countries (5.6 million has.) compared with developing countries (2.8 million has.), the percentage growth was higher in the developing countries of the South (26%) than in the industrial countries of the North (17%).
In 2001, four principal countries grew 99% of the global transgenic crop area. The USA grew 35.7 million has. (68% of the global total), followed by Argentina with 11.8 million has. (22%), Canada 3.2 million has. (6%) and China 1.5 million has. (3%); China had the highest year-on-year growth with a tripling of its Bt cotton area from 0.5 million has. in 200o to 1.5 million has. in 2001. A growth rate of 18% applied to both the USA (equivalent 5.4 million has.) and Argentina (1.8 million has.) with Canada at 6% or 0.2 million has. GM crop hectarage also increased in South Africa and Australia in 2001, where the growth rates were 33% and 37% respectively. Modest increases were reported for the other six countries that grew GM crops in 2001, listed in descending order of GM hectarage - Mexico, Bulgaria, Uruguay, Romania, Spain, Indonesia, and Germany. Indonesia reported commercializing a transgenic crop, Bt cotton, for the first time in 2001. Globally, the principal GM crops were GM soybean occupying 33.3 million has. in 2001 (63% of global area), followed by GM corn at 9.8 million has. (19%), transgenic cotton at 6.8 million has. (13%), and GM canola at 2.7 million has. (5%). During the six-year period1996 to 2001, herbicide tolerance has consistently been the dominant trait with insect resistance second. In 2001, herbicide tolerance, deployed in soybean, corn, and cotton, occupied 77% or 40.6 million hectares of the global GM 52.6 million has., with 7.8 million has. (15%) planted to Bt crops, and stacked genes for herbicide tolerance and insect resistance deployed in both cotton and corn occupying 8% or 4.2 million has. of the global transgenic area in 2001. The two dominant GM crop/ trait combinations in 2001 were: herbicide tolerant soybean occupying 33.3 million has. or 63% of the global total and grown in seven countries; and Bt maize, occupying 5.9 million has., equivalent to 11% of global transgenic area and planted in six countries; the other six GM crops occupied 5% or less of global transgenic crop area.
Another useful way to present the adoption of GM crops is to express the global adoption rates for the four principal GM crops in 2001, soybean, cotton, canola, and corn. The data indicate that on a percentage basis 46% of the 72 million has. of soybean planted globally were transgenic - up from 36% in 2000. Similarly, 20% of the 34 million has. of cotton were GM - up from 16% in 2000. The areas planted to transgenic canola and maize, were unchanged from 2000 at 11% of the 25 million has, of canola, and 7% of the 140 million has. of maize. If the global areas (conventional and transgenic) of these four principal GM crops are aggregated, the total area is 271 million has., of which 19% up from 16% in 2000, is estimated to be transgenic in 2001.
The experience of the first six years, 1996 to 2001, during which a cumulative total of over 175 million has. (almost 440 million acres) of GM crops were planted globally in 16 countries, has met the expectations of millions of large and small farmers in both industrial and developing countries. The indications appear to be positive for the future of crop biotechnology. In 2001, coincidental with increased political, policy and institutional support for GM crops, due to their acknowledged contribution to global food security, the global area of transgenic crops benefited from renewed growth which resulted in a 19% increase in global GM crop area in 2001 - almost twice the growth rate in 2000. The number of farmers that benefited from GM crops in 2001 were resource-poor farmers planting Bt cotton mainly in eight provinces in China and also in the Makathini Flats in KwaZulu Natal province of South Africa.
There is a cautious optimism that global area and the number of farmers planting GM crops will continue to grow in 2002 in the six principal countries that are already growing GM crops - USA, Argentina, Canada, China, South Africa and Australia. The other seven countries growing transgenic crops in 2001 are expected to report modest growth in GM crop area in 2002. India is expected to approve commercialization of its first GM crop, Bt cotton in 2002, with the first commercialization of herbicide tolerant soybean in Brazil dependent on resolving outstanding regulatory issues. The commercialization of GM crops in India and Brazil would represent a watershed for GM crops in developing countries in that the thee most populous countries in Asia - China, India and Indonesia with 2.5 billion people as well as the three major economies of Latin America - Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, plus South Africa, would then all be commercializing and benefiting from transgenic crops.
List of Tables
List of Figures