The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) has released a report showing the global biotech crop plantings increased 20 percent in 2004 over 2003, reaching 200 million acres.



The study reported that 8.25 million farmers in 17 countries planted biotech crops, 1.25 million more farmers than planted biotech crops in 2003. Notably, 90 percent of these farmers were in developing countries. For the first time, the absolute growth in biotech crop area was higher in developing countries than in industrial countries.



Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Executive Director, Food and Agriculture, Sean Darragh issued the following statement in response to a new report issued today by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) which reported biotech crop plantings increased 20 percent in 2004 over 2003:



"The adoption of biotechnology is particularly striking in the developing world. Many small, resource-poor farmers are realizing the benefits of increased crop yields resulting from plants more tolerant to harsh climates, pests, and that generate less runoff into lakes and streams," said Sean Darragh, Biotechnology Industry Organization executive director, food and agriculture.



The number of countries accounting for the majority of the global total of biotech crop area grew from five to eight and included the United States (59 percent of the global total), Argentina (20 percent), Canada (6 percent), Brazil (6 percent), China (5 percent), Paraguay (2 percent), India (1 percent), and South Africa (1 percent).



In the United States, farmers planted 47.6 million hectares of biotech crops, up 11 percent from 2003. Continued growth was a result of significant acreage gains in biotech corn varieties and continued increases in herbicide-tolerant soybeans, with modest growth in biotech cotton as the adoption rate approached 80 percent in 2004.



By the end of the decade, ISAAA predicts up to 15 million farmers will grow biotech crops on 150 million hectares in up to 30 countries.



Source: Association Release