ENVIRONMENT

Biotech benefits

Biotech has increased crop production, lowered CO2 emmissions and improved farm incomes by $133 billion since the first varieties were planted in 1996.

High-starch low-methane-emission rice

Rice, being the world’s second most important grain crop, is also one of the largest sources of methane emissions. Aiming at reducing the greenhouse effect and offering more food to the world, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences has engineered a rice capable of producing a strong yield in an ecologically friendlier manner.

Drought Resistant Corn

With the use of biotechnology, corn can be modified to better withstand periods with less water by limiting effect of drought conditions on its yields.

Impact of insect-resistant GM rice on pesticide use and farmers’ health in China

The analysis concludes that the commercialization of GM rice is expected to improve the health of farmers in developing countries, where pesticide application is necessary to mitigate crop loss.

Bt Maize and Bees

Does genetically modified Bt maize pose a risk to honeybees? Stephan Härtel and his team at the University of Würzburg investigated this possibility in a three-year research project. They did not find that Bt maize affected the bees' health in any of these experiments.

The Importance of Agricultural Biotechnology in the Response to the Effects of Climate Change

A view on the contrasting agri-biotech regulatory schemes in the US, the EU, Asia and South America and the impacts that climate change is expected to have on global agriculture.

Other material

Intensifying agriculture to preserve natural habitats and biodiversity

If greater productivity on existing land can satisfy demand, then there is less pressure to extend agriculture into additional natural habitats. GM crops can increase yields by 6%-30% on the same amount of land, avoiding the need to plough up land that is currently a haven for biodiversity.

Key Global Environmental Impacts of Genetically Modified Crop Use

Against the background of increasing awareness and appreciation of issues on global environment, this paper updates previous assessments of some key environmental impacts that crop biotechnology has had on global agriculture.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture

More efficient use of fertilisers is an important way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as nitrous oxide has a very high global warming potential. It has been estimated that at the global level, GM crops have helped to save greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 10.2 million cars off the roads.

Europe's foodprint

To feed a growing world population, we will need to produce the same amount of food in the next 40 years as we did in the past 8,000. Europe relies heavily on land outside its borders to meet its food needs. Its net imports are equivalent to outsourcing an area of arable land almost as big as the surface area of Germany.

A more efficiency use of input including water

Agricultural biotechnology can play a significant role in enabling farmers to improve yield by using water more sustainably and helping to scope with water scarcity. The two main ways in which this works are by reducing water loss and improving drought tolerance.

Get involved

WHAT PEOPLE SAY
“GMOs offer potential of increased agricultural productivity, improved nutritional values that can contribute directly to enhancing human health and development.”
World Health Organisation, 2005

Recent News

  • Can farmers do without chemicals?

    “Some evidence suggests that genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant crops, facilitate minimum tillage agriculture, a further reason for encouraging their acceptance by the food industry,” Lord Krebs said.

  • GM crops help fight hunger

    Among the greatest challenges facing mankind is the provision of sufficient healthy and nutritious food for an ever growing population. It is a stain on humanity that one out of every nine people on our planet go to sleep hungry. Technical innovation presents a real opportunity to both improve productivity and protect the environment.

Other