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Biotechnology Increases Global Grain Production and Farmers Income

GM Crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2014 shows that genetically modified (GM) crops favor the adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices, Improvements to farmers' productivity and income. According to the survey, in 19 of the adoption of agricultural biotechnology, GM crops were responsible for an additional production of 158.4 million tons of soybean and 321.8 million tons of corn. In addition, the technology also contributed with an increase of 24.7 million tons of cotton and 9.2 million tons of canola.


This extra production is due to the fact that transgenic crops allow farmers to reduce losses and adopt more sustainable practices, resulting in increased productivity and thus reducing pressure on forests and environmental preservation areas. If agricultural biotechnology were not available to the 18 million farmers who adopted it in 2014, maintaining global production levels would have required an additional 20.7 million hectares planted with soya, maize, cotton and canola. This total area is equivalent to one-third of Brazil's arable land.

Another benefit of agricultural biotechnology pointed out in the PG Economics report is the significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This is because, as the management of these crops is easier, there is less need to use fuels. By 2014, that decrease prevented 22.4 million tons of carbon dioxide from being thrown into the atmosphere, equivalent to the removal of 10 million cars from the streets for a year.


According to Adriana Brondani, biologist and executive director of the Biotechnology Information Council (CIB), the survey of English consultancy is in addition to other studies that prove that transgenics, besides insurance, bring benefits. "There is a growing number of scientific studies on transgenics and they have all confirmed that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are as safe for human, animal, and environmental as conventional varieties."


Finally, in the 19 years of use of agricultural biotechnology analyzed by the report, the global economic gains with the adoption of transgenics were US $ 150 billion (about R $ 540 million). "When farmers opt for GM cultivation, the economic benefits are clear, and by 2014 they represented an average growth of $ 100 per hectare," said Graham Brookes, director of PG Economics and co-author of the report. In 2014, in developing countries, farmers received $ 4.42 for every dollar invested, while the return to farmers in developed countries stood at $ 3.14 per dollar invested.


Source: Redação CIB and PG Economics, June 2016

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