Archived news articles - 2007

The Straits Times (Science Snippets) - 20 Jan 2007

Biotech crops hit record high

A RECORD number of biotech crops were planted worldwide last year, according to a biotechnology advocacy group.

But critics complained that the gains were more of the same: Making corn, soya and cotton crops resistant to weed killers and bugs.

None of the genetically engineered crops for sale last year was nutritionally enhanced and much of the output feeds livestock, which critics said undercuts industry claims that biotechnology can help alleviate human hunger.

Still, the report prepared by the industry-backed International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications touted the record as evidence that crops engineered to cut pesticide use can ease poverty and financially benefit small farmers around the world.

Some 10.3 million farmers in 22 countries grew engineered crops on 102 million hectares last year, a 13 per cent increase over 2005.

About 9.3 million of those people were considered subsistence farmers. The United States, Argentina and Brazil were the top three countries that grew genetically engineered crops last year.

Compiled by Chang Ai-Lien

Copyright @ 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.