Science Speaks - Blog by ISAAA

Developing Countries Beat Industrial Countries in Biotech Crop Adoption

By Kristine Grace N. Tome
May 26, 2021

More developing nations relied on biotech crops for food, feed, fiber, and fuel in 2019. A total of 24 developing countries planted over half (56%) of the global biotech crop plantings, while only 5 industrial countries took the 44% share. Developing countries have outperformed industrial countries in biotech crop adoption for the past eight consecutive years.

Top Performing Adoptors in the Developing World

Brazil, Argentina, and India were hailed as the top performers in terms of biotech crop adoption. Brazil, also the second biotech crop producer worldwide, has planted a total of 52.8 million hectares of biotech crops in 2019. Developing countries are expected to plant more biotech crops in the coming years because of the increasing number of countries in the southern hemisphere adopting biotech crops and the commercialization of new biotech crops such as rice, which is mostly grown in developing countries.

Impact of Biotech Crops on Resource-poor Farmers

About 17 million farmers, mostly from developing countries, adopted biotech crops because of the improvement in their socio-economic conditions. For the last 23 years (1996-2018), global economic gains from biotech crops reached US$224.9 billion. Biotechnology has helped in the alleviation of poverty through uplifting the economic situation of up to 17 million small, resource-poor farmers, and their families impacting approximately 65 million people.

For more details about biotech crop adoption in developing countries in 2019, download Pocket K No. 16: Biotech Crop Highlights in 2019.

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