Biotech Demonstrates Benefit to Sustainability Efforts

Two new studies show that biotechnology (genetically modified or GM) crop use is having continued positive effects socially and environmentally.

PG Economics and the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) released their separate studies, “GM Crops: Global Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts 1996-2016” and “Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2017” respectively. Both studies examined biotech crop use on a global scale. Biotech is responsible for an exponential growth in agriculture that hasn’t required additional hectares of land over the past two decades.

Over the PG Economics study period, researchers observed higher crop yields and more reliable production (disease and pest resistant crops) which often leads to higher earnings for the farmers, an estimated $186.1 billion to about 17 million farmers.

Carbon dioxide emissions savings as a result of GM crop use was about equivalent to removing 16.75 million cars from the roads. Additionally, due to the reduced need for GM seeds to be sprayed with pest control, environmental impact has decreased 18.4 percent since 1996.

A less obvious, but greatly important benefit is that as climate change drains conventional crops of “protein, zinc and iron,” many GM crops include those nutrients to help offset that negative environmental impact and help to decrease global malnutrition.

Over the years, biotech has shown to have a variety of benefits for the long-term and these studies claim that the benefits are likely to continue.

Read the full studies to learn more:

GM Crops: Global Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts 1996-2016

Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops: 2017