Global trends

Since 1996, GM crops have been adopted at an exponential rate in developed and technologically advanced developing countries. In only eight years, GM crops' hectarage has extended from 1.7 to 67.7 million hectares (mha), a more than 40-fold increase. This indicates that in spite of the GM crops' controversy, there has been no sign of a slowdown in its adoption by farmers.

The 2003 GM crops' hectarage was cultivated by 7 million GM farmers in 18 countries, including Brazil and the Philippines that officially approved GM crops for the first time, an increase from 6 million farmers in 16 GM growing countries in 2002. Furthermore, the year 2003 saw that six countries, including Brazil and South Africa, grew 99% of global GM crops areas. This has broken the three consecutive years (2000, 2001, and 2002) that the four countries, namely, the United States, Argentina, China, and Canada, held such record but also indicated an increase in GM growing areas by other countries. In 2003, the United States grew 63% of global total, followed by Argentina (21%), Canada (6%), Brazil (4%), China (4%), and South Africa (1%). While the dominant GM crops have been commodity crops, i.e., soybean, cotton, canola, and corn, the dominant traits have been herbicide resistance and insect resistance (Fig. 13-1).

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