Biotech Updates

PG Economics: Farmers Continue to Reap Benefits of Crop Biotech

May 25, 2012

Considerable economic and environmental benefits to the farmers and citizens of countries where crop biotechnology is used continue to rise, says the seventh annual report on crop biotech impacts released by PG Economics in the United Kingdom.

"The environment in user countries is benefiting from farmers using more benign herbicides or replacing insecticide use with insect resistant GM crops. The reduction in pesticide spraying and the switch to no till cropping systems is also resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of these benefits are found in developing countries," says Graham Brookes, director of PG Economics and co-author of the report.

Some of the key highlights of the report GM crops: Global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2010 include:

  • The net economic benefit at the farm level in 2010 was $14 billion, equal to an average increase in income of $100/hectare. For the 15 year period (1996-2010), the global farm income gain has been $78.4 billion;
  • The insect resistant (IR) technology used in cotton and corn has consistently delivered the highest increase in farm income, especially in developing countries (notably cotton in India and China);
  • Of the total farm income benefit, 60% ($46.8 billion) was due to yield gains resulting from lower pest and weed pressure and improved genetics, with the balance arising from reductions in the cost of production.
  • A majority (55%) of the 2010 farm income gains went to farmers in developing countries, 90% of which are resource poor and small farms;
  • The cost farmers paid for accessing crop biotechnology in 2010 was equal to 28% of the total technology gains (a total of $19.3 billion inclusive of farm income gains ($14 billion) plus cost of the technology payable to the seed supply chain ($5.3billion); 
  • For farmers in developing countries the total cost of accessing the technology in 2010 was equal to 17% of total technology gains, whilst for farmers in developed countries the cost was 37% of the total technology gains. 

 View the report at