Record number of global plantings of biotech crops show time is up for state moratoria

    29 January 2015

    29 January 2015 (Canberra) – The latest independent report published by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) shows that biotech crop acreage has increased again in 2014 and confirms the benefits plant biotechnology has for farmers worldwide.

    The ISAAA report shows 2014 was the 19th year of successful commercialisation of biotech crops with more than 450 billion acres of biotech crops planted since 1996 across 20 developing and eight industrialised countries representing more than 60 percent of the world’s population. This 100-fold increase makes biotech crops the fastest adopted crop technology in recent times.

    The report also highlights that since 1996 biotech crops have improved the sustainable use of pesticides, saving 500 million kg; conserved biodiversity by saving 326 million acres of land from being placed in agricultural production; alleviated poverty for 16.5 million small farmers and farm families, totalling more than 65 million people; and reduced CO2 emissions from agriculture by 28 billion kg in 2013 alone (equivalent to removing 12.4 million cars from the road for one year).

    “This report confirms the importance of Australian farmers being able to choose to use new, innovative, safe and approved technologies to remain globally competitive, meet the requirements of increased food demand and farm sustainably on limited arable land,” said Matthew Cossey, Chief Executive Officer of CropLife Australia.

    “Modern farming using biotechnology will play a crucial role in food, feed and fibre production in Australia and this report highlights the need to ensure non-science based and unnecessary costly regulation doesn’t hold Australia back from reaping the benefits and being a world leader in innovation. This is further evidence that state moratoria on genetically modified crops is completely unnecessary and it is time for all state moratoria to be repealed.”

    In Australia, planting of genetically modified (GM) herbicide tolerant canola increased by around 50 per cent to 845,100 acres in 2014, with the fastest rate of adoption occurring in Western Australia as growers there realise that choosing GM canola is choosing sustainable, environmentally friendly and profitable farming.

    “Australian farmers, like farmers all around the world, recognise the enormous agronomic, economic and environmental benefits that come with the use of agricultural biotechnology innovations. The repeal of state GM moratoria will unshackle Australian farmers and allow them to compete on a level playing field in what is an aggressively competitive global market,” said Mr Cossey.

    “GM crops are the most tested and regulated food product in the world. Countless independent, long-term studies have been carried out by universities, government organisations, public institutions and private companies around the world over the past few decades. Every legitimate scientific and regulatory body that has examined the evidence has arrived at the conclusion that GM crops and the foods they produce are as safe as their conventional counterparts.

    “It is time that public policies and regulations for GM crops are based on facts and science, and the ideologically driven, baseless scare campaigns by activist groups stop unduly influencing agricultural policy,” concluded Mr Cossey. More information about the ISAAA report is available online at

    Contact: Jaelle Bajada (Manager – Public Affairs)  Ph: 02 6230 6399  Mob: 0410 491 261