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Global Impact of Biotech Crops: Socio-Economic & Environmental Effects 1996–2007

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This paper summarises the findings of research into the global socio-economic and environmental impact of biotech crops in the twelve years since they were first commercially planted on a significant area in 1996. Since then the global area using this technology has grown rapidly to in excess of 100 million hectares, highlighting the popularity of the technology amongst adopting farmers. In contrast, EU farmers have had little opportunity to adopt this technology with only one trait (insect resistant maize) approved for planting and the EU accounting for less than 0.5% of the global biotech crop in 2007. The paper focuses on the farm level economic effects, the production effects, the environmental impact resulting from changes in the use of insecticides and herbicides, and the contribution towards reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of biotech trait adoption. The research is based on, and draws from, an extensive literature review of impacts globally coupled with some collection and analysis of data, notably relating to pesticide usage.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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