The benefits of biotech: How GM crops benefit farmers and the developing world

Sep 19, 2011

The biotech industry boosted farming across the globe to the tune of almost $65 billion during the period 1996 to 2009, according to the latest analysis published in the International Journal of Biotechnology. $65 billion is the increase in net farm income, the farm level benefit after paying for the seed and its biotech traits. The study's authors estimate that almost half of that was derived by farmers in the developing world.

Graham Brookes and Peter Barfoot of PG Economics Ltd., in Dorchester, UK, have investigated the economic impact at the farm level of , looking at yields, key costs of production, direct farm income, indirect (non-pecuniary) farm level income effects and impacts on the production base of the four main crops of soybeans, corn, cotton and canola. Biotech has added 83 million and 130 million tonnes, respectively, to global production of soybeans and corn, they estimate. Net farm level economic benefits amounted to almost $11 billion in 2009 alone.

"Biotech, and specifically genetically modified (GM) crops has had a significant positive impact on farm income derived from a combination of enhanced productivity and efficiency gains," the team estimated. It has added 5.8% to the value of for the four main crops investigated, with cost savings being greatest for soy. In terms of the division between different parts of the world, the team reports that in 2009, 53.1% of the farm income benefits went to farmers and the vast majority of those income gains were from GM insect-resistant cotton and GM herbicide-tolerant soybeans.

The team concedes that their estimate of benefits amounting to $65 billion is based on the assumption of average levels of weed and pest pressure. If the assumptions are varied to assume extremes of low weed and pest pressure in all years and high weed and pest pressure in all years, then then the farm level benefits from using biotech in agriculture during the period studied would fall within a range of about $58 billion to $73 billion.

Explore further: The origin of the language of life

More information: "The income and production effects of biotech crops globally 1996-2009" in Int. J. Biotechnol., 2011, 12, 1-49

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User comments : 3

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JRDarby
5 / 5 (1) Sep 19, 2011
Of course, if any of that benefit takes place and you don't pay Monsanto their seed tributes, you can expect nothing but suffering and pain.
Kev_C
5 / 5 (3) Sep 19, 2011
Its a pity the report doesn't take into account the superweeds that are now taking over the fields. Also how do they factor in the pollution aspect and cost of the subsequent medical treatment of all those developing nations indigenous people contaminated by the chemicals? What about the cost of taking care of the same people displaced from their land to enable the corporations to plant their soya crops? Oh I forgot they don't pay a penny do they. Its not the indigenous peoples land (technically) because they don't have any legal documents stating ownership.
Makes me laugh when I read these sort of papers as they are so shallow and binkered with the facts that they present. Next time maybe they will also factor in the costs of all the failed crops that have occured due to beetle resistance despite the claims to the contrary by Monsanto.
3432682
1 / 5 (1) Sep 20, 2011
Leftists have an unlimited ability to fabricate catastrophe out of absolutely nothing. Malthus lives.

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