Want to Help a Small Farm Prosper? Biotechnology in Agriculture
In 2013 more than 18 million farmers in 27 countries around the globe planted more than 175 million hectares (432 million acres) with scientifically improved seeds that produced high yields of food, feed and fiber. 90% of the those farmers (that’s over 16 Million farmers) who grow biotech crops are resource-poor with farms of less than 10 hectares (a hectare is just under 108,000 square feet or 2.47 acres).44 So a small farmer using modified seeds can increase crop yields as high as 53%.
Biotechnology in agriculture has helped spur a growth in the world economy
Economic benefits of crops modified by biotechnology amounts to an average of over $321/acre. In the last 16 years, planted biotech crop acres have increased 100-fold from 4.2 million acres to 420 million acres. (( source: ISAAA )) Not only has there been a 100-fold increase in the number of modified farming practices, but from that increase there has also been yield gains, in some cases that are 7–20% higher than conventional varieties (which are on average 33% higher than organic yields).44 The growth rate for biotech crops is at least three times as fast and five times as large in developing countries than industrialized countries. So, there 100x more enhanced acres of farming, but they are also increasing their yields by 7-20%.
Biotech Crops are Greener and Cheaper
“GM crops in general need fewer field operations, such as tillage, which more residue to remain in the ground, sequestering more CO 2 in the soil and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In 2011, these practices were equivalent to removing 10.2 million cars from the road for one year.”44 This also means that farmers are spending less money on gas and energy to maintain these crops, further reducing their costs.