By Chen Weixiao
The planting of genetically modified crops has surged, particularly in developing countries, because of the global food crisis, according to a report.
The number of countries growing GM crops has increased from six in 1996, the first year of commercialisation, to 25 in 2009, says the latest annual report of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Application (ISAAA), released in Beijing last month (23 February).
Around 134 million hectares worldwide are now planted with GM crops.
The United States tops the list of countries growing GM crops, followed by Brazil, Argentina, India, Canada, China, Paraguay and South Africa. Almost half of global GM crops are now planted in 16 developing countries, involving 13 million small farmers. ISAAA predicts that the number of biotech farmers will reach 20 million or more by 2015.
‘This strong adoption puts to rest the idea that [GM] crops can only benefit larger farmers and ind