Crop Biotech Update SpEd January 16, 2003
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The Annual Global Review of Commercialised Transgenic (GM) Crops, conducted by Dr Clive James, Chairman of the ISAAA Board of Directors, features comprehensive information on transgenic crops grown globally in 2002; the following are the highlights:
bulletThe estimated global area of transgenic or GM crops for 2002, is 58.7 million hectares (has.) or 145 million acres, grown by between 5.5 and 6.0 million farmers in sixteen countries - up from 5 million farmers and thirteen countries in 2001. To put 58.7 million has. into context, it is more than 5% the total land area of China or the US or almost two and half times the land area of the United Kingdom.
bulletThe increase in area between 2001 and 2002 is 12%, equivalent to 6.1 million has. or 15 million acres. A sustained rate of annual growth of more than 10% per year has been achieved every year for the last six years, since their introduction in 1996.
bulletDuring the seven-year period 1996 to 2002, global area of transgenic crops increased 35-fold, from 1.7 million has. in 1996 to 58.7 million has. in 2002. This ranks as one of the highest adoption rates for crop technologies.
bulletAn increasing proportion of GM crops are grown in developing countries. More than one quarter (27%) of the global GM crop area of 58.7 million has. in 2002, equivalent to 16 million has., was grown in nine developing countries. India, the largest cotton growing country in the world, commercialised Bt cotton for the first time in 2002. Colombia (Bt cotton) and Honduras (Bt corn) grew pre-commercial hectarage of GM crops for the first time. 
bulletIn 2002, four principal countries grew 99% of the global transgenic crop area. The USA grew 39.0 million has. (66% of global total), followed by Argentina with 13.5 million has. (23%) despite the economic situation, Canada 3.5 million has. (6%), and China 2.1 million has. (4%); 
bulletChina had the highest year-on-year percentage growth with a 40% increase in its Bt cotton area which occupied more than half (51%) of the national cotton area of 4.1 million has. for the first time, and benefited 5 million small resource-poor farmers.
bulletGlobally, the principal GM crops were GM soybean occupying 36.5 million has. in 2001 (62% of global area), followed by GM corn at 12.4 million has. (21%), transgenic cotton at 6.8 million has. (12%), and GM canola at 3 million has. (5%).
bulletDuring the six-year period 1996 to 2002, herbicide tolerance has consistently been the dominant trait with Bt insect resistance second. In 2002, herbicide tolerance, deployed in soybean, corn and cotton, occupied 75% or 44.2 million hectares of the global GM 58.7 million has., with 10.1 million has. (17%) planted to Bt crops, and stacked genes for herbicide tolerance and insect resistance deployed in both cotton and corn occupying 8% or 4.4 million has. of the global transgenic area in 2002. 
bulletThe two dominant GM crop/trait combinations in 2002 were: herbicide tolerant soybean occupying 36.5 million has. or 62% of the global total and grown in seven countries; and Bt maize, occupying 7.6 million has., equivalent to 13% of global transgenic area and also planted in seven countries - notably South Africa grew 58,000 has. of Bt white maize for food in 2002 - up 10 fold from 2001; the other six GM crops occupied 5% or less of global transgenic crop area. 
bulletOn a global basis for the first time more than half, (51%) of the 72 million has. of soybean grown worldwide were GM in 2002 - up significantly from 46% in 2001; 20% of the global 34 million has. of cotton were GM -the same as last year; of the 25 million has. of canola GM canola increased from 11% to 12%; and of the 140 million has. Of maize globally GM increased significantly form 7% in 2001 to 9% in 2002. If the global areas (conventional and transgenic) of these four principal GM crops are aggregated, the total area is 271 million has., of which between 21and 22 % is GM, up substantially from 19% in 2001.
bulletIn the first seven years, 1996 to 2002, a cumulative total of over 235 million has. or over 580 million acres of GM crops were planted globally and met the expectations of millions of large and small farmers.
bulletThe number of farmers that benefited from GM crops in 2002 was between 5.5 and 6 million - up from 5 million in 2001. More than three-quarters of the farmers that benefited from GM crops in 2002 were resource-poor cotton farmers planting Bt cotton, mainly in China and also in South Africa.
bulletIn 2002 for the first time more than half of the world's population lived in countries where GM crops are approved and grown. There is cautious optimism that global area and the number of farmers planting GM crops will continue to increase in 2003.

The above are excerpts from "Global Status of Commercialised Transgenic Crops: 2002", by Clive James, ISAAA Briefs No. 27: Preview. For media inquiries please contact Tel +1-345-947-1839 from 9.00 A.M. to 5.00 P.M. EST, New York, USA. The publication and further information can be obtained from ISAAA's Center in South East Asia: e-mail Cost of the publication, ISAAA Briefs No. 27, is $US 35.00 including postage. The publication is available free of charge to nationals of developing countries.

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