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Published May 06, 2014, 11:41 AM

Report: Big payoff from GM crops

Genetically modified crops benefit both farmers’ finances and the environment, according to a report released today.

By: Agweek Staff Report,

Genetically modified crops benefit both farmers’ finances and the environment, according to a report released today.

PG Economics Ltd., a British company that provides advisory and consultancy service to agriculture and other natural resource-based industries, says GM crops have “delivered more environmentally friendly farming practices while providing clear improvements to farmer productivity and income.”

Farmers in both developed and developing countries benefit from GM technology, the report says.

The report finds that GM crops have these global impacts:

•Biotech crops have “contributed to significantly reducing the release of greenhouse gas emission from agricultural practices.” In 2012, this amounted to the equivalent of removing 27 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or equal to removing 11.9 million cars from the road for one year.

•Crop biotechnology reduced pesticide spray from 1996 to 2012 by 503 million kilograms.

•Insect resistant technology in cotton and corn has pushed up yields. The average yield gains from 1996 to 2012 were 10.4 percent for insect-resistant corn and 16.1 percent for insect -resistant cotton.

•The highest yield gains go to farmers in developing countries, many of whom have few resources and farm small plots of land.

•Farm income gains associated with crop biotechnology were divided equally between farmers in developing and developed countries.

•Farmers in developing countries received $3.74 for each dollar invested in GM crops seed. Farmers in developed countries received $3.04 for each dollar invested in GM crop seed. The higher rate of return in developing countries partly reflects their weaker provision and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

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