Australian farmers growing GM crops gain $595 million

    23 April 2013

    An international report released today shows that in the sixteenth year of widespread adoption, crop biotechnology has delivered considerable environmental benefits as well as providing an unparalleled improvement in farmer income.

    Farmers who grow biotech crops continue to see significant economic and productivity gains, as well as substantial environmental benefits, the latest annual report from PG Economics reveals.

    CropLife Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Matthew Cossey said today “Australian biotech cotton and canola farmers have realised farm income benefits of more than $595 million over the 16 year period covered by the report.

    “Crop biotechnology has also contributed to significantly reducing the release of greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural practices. This results from less fuel use and additional soil carbon storage from reduced tillage with GM crops. In 2011, this was equivalent to removing 23 billion kg of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or equal to removing 10.2 million cars – 80 per cent of the cars registered in Australia – from the road for one year.

    “Since 1996, the global farm income gain from biotech crops has been US $98.2 billion. This is an impressive increase and demonstrates the value of agricultural biotechnology, not just for farmers, but for the global economy as a whole.

    “Even more impressive is the contribution of biotech crops to the global food supply. Between 1996 and 2011, crop biotechnology was responsible for an additional 110 million tonnes of soybeans and 195 million tonnes of corn. The technology has also contributed an extra 15.8 million tonnes of cotton lint and 6.6 million tonnes of canola.

    “Given that we need to produce 70 per cent more food by 2050 than we do today in order to meet the needs of our growing population, these figures give real, concrete evidence that agricultural biotechnology is a crucial asset for achieving that goal.

    “If crop biotechnology had not been available to the 16.7 million farmers using the technology in 2011, maintaining global production at the 2011 levels would have required additional plantings equivalent to 33 per cent of the arable land in Australia. That’s over 15 million hectares of forest and natural habitat saved by the use of crop biotechnology.

    “The figures released by PG Economics today once again put solid data behind the benefits of biotech crops. The facts speak for themselves. It is only fair that this technology be made available to all farmers across Australia and the rest of the world,” concluded Mr Cossey.

    The full report from PG Economics can be downloaded at: