GMOs by the numbers
Genetically engineered crop plantings and their performance have been laboriously analyzed for two decades. Two organizations in particular have published comprehensive compilations of statistics. Here we share some of the particularly notable facts from these sources.
We encourage you to visit the original sources for the full studies: The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications’ (ISAAA) annual brief and PG Economics’ numerous peer-reviewed papers examining global GM crop use, environmental impacts, income and production effects, and much more.
Production & Growth
- 28 countries currently grow GE crops
- 448 million acres of GE crops were being grown across the world in 2014
- The U.S. leads the way in biotech crop production with 180 million acres
- Commodity crops like corn (maize), soybean and cotton are the most common GE crops
- Also in production: fruits and vegetables like papaya, eggplant, squash, and (of course) now apples.
- From 1996-2013, the global farm income gain from GE crops has been US$133.5 billion
- GE crops have helped alleviate poverty for >16.5 million farmers and their families
- Farmers in developing countries have experienced the highest yield gains
- In 2013, farmers received over $4 for each dollar invested in GE crop seeds globally
- In 2013, lower fuel use due to reduced tillage with GE crops had the equivalent impact as removing 12.4 million cars from the road for one year
- From 1996-2013, GE crops have led to a 1.2 billion pounds reduction in pesticide spraying
- GE crops allow farmers to grow more on less land; to produce the same amount of conventional crops, the total additional area of land needed would be equal to 11% of the arable land in the U.S.