China leads in biotech crops

Updated: 2013-03-02 10:31

By Zhou Siyu (China Daily)

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China, the world's largest food consumer, led developing countries in growing biotech crops last year, according to a report by an industry organization.

The country was the world's sixth-largest grower of biotech crops in 2012, the same as a year ago, the report by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, or ISAAA, said.

The nation's total growing area for biotech crops stood at 4 million hectares, with cotton the dominant crop, the report, released on Friday, said.

More than 7.2 million resource-poor Chinese farmers on small holdings grow less than 4 million hectares of biotech cotton, ISAAA data showed. This means a biotechnology adaptation rate as high as 80 percent, with every farmer cultivating half a hectare on average.

Globally, an unprecedented 100-fold increase was recorded in the biotech crop growing area, which surged from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 to 170 million hectares in 2012.

"This makes biotech crops the fastest-adopted crop technology in recent history," said Clive James, ISAAA chairman and founder.

Last year also saw developing countries growing more biotech crops than rich nations, for the first time since the introduction of biotech crops two decades ago, according to the ISAAA.

"This growth is contrary to the prediction of critics, who in 1996 prematurely declared that biotech crops were only for industrial countries," James said.

China ranked fourth among developing countries in terms of biotech crop growing area, following Argentina, Brazil and India. "China has great potential in planting biotech crops, especially with corn," James said.


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