GM cropping area twice size of UK
GENETICALLY modified crops were grown on an area equivalent to almost twice the size of the UK last year, according to data from a US-based research centre.
The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications estimates that 52.6m ha (131.5m acres) was grown by 5.5m farmers in 13 countries, representing a 19% expansion on GM cropping in 2001.
Taken together, the four biggest producers grew 99% of the GM crop area, the US leading with 68% of the total, Argentina 22%, Canada 6% and China 3%.
Top GM crop was soya on 33m ha (82.5m acres), equivalent to almost two-thirds of the total. GM maize took 19%, cotton 13% and oilseed rape 5%.
Herbicide tolerance remains the most popular trait, accounting for 77% of the total, insect resistant Bt crops taking 15% and crops containing both accounting for 8%. *