Over the past 19 years, tens of millions of farmers have grown over 1.8 billion hectares of biotech crops in dozens of countries. Plant biotechnology has revolutionized agriculture by allowing growers to better control insects, weeds and disease that once devastated harvests and hurt rural communities that rely on farming.

Developing this type of revolutionary technology is not easy though. Studies have shown companies must test thousands of potential biotech seed traits in order to find just one that safely and effectively help farmers improve their operations. This takes over USD$130 million dollars and 13 years to complete – a significant investment for any innovator. Intellectual property has been critical to allowing companies a limited window to recoup their investment and put it right back in to further research and development. This has enabled a continuous pipeline of new biotech crops, which farmers have used to add over USD$130 billion to their farm incomes through lower pest-control costs and higher yields.

Learn more about the steps needed to develop just one biotech crop in our infographic, ‘Getting Biotech Crops to Market’