Regular readers will know I am supportive of the idea of genetically modified crops.
It’s not so much that I am pro-GMO, at least in as much as I believe every acre should be GMO, but from where I sit I see the technology is the best chance farmers have to stay ahead of the population growth curve in the world.
I also recognize farmers have seen the benefit of GMO crops in terms of on-farm agronomic.
So it was not a huge surprise when a press release arrived the other day that last year Canadian farmers planted close to 21 million acres of canola, more than 97 per cent of which was enhanced through biotechnology, according to a report from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA).
The release noted “the majority of canola, corn and soybeans planted in Canada are biotech varieties. Canada now ranks fourth on the list of countries that plant biotech crops in terms of acres planted, up from fifth the previous year. Last year Canadian farmers planted close to 29 million acres of biotech crops, which puts Canada behind only the United States, Brazil and Argentina.”
It is no surprise either that corn, canola, and soybeans are the key biotech crops. They are high value crops so companies working in the biotechnology sector looked to work with them first reasoning farmers would be willing to take on new technology because the crops have that higher value.
Agronomics played a major factor in the adoption of the GMO crops in this country, as well as the United States, Argentina and Brazil.
While the aforementioned countries are all major exporters, and rely on high levels of production to do that, they are not the only countries to adopt GMO.
“In 2012 millions of farmers in 28 countries around the world planted biotech crops. The global area of biotech crops has increased one hundred fold since they were first commercialized in 1996,” stated the release from CropLife Canada, the trade association representing the manufacturers, developers and distributors of plant science innovations.
There has been of course some consumer resistance to the idea of GMO, but those are beginning to subside as the level of crops being produced in corn, canola, etc., are so high now they are difficult to avoid in the grocery store.
And while initial resistance to new ideas is to be expected from consumers, milk pasteurization was not widely thought a good idea at one point in history, time tends to smooth over such concerns.
So as we move forward expect farmers around the world to continue to adopt GMO technology as they make agronomic sense and affect their bottom lines in a positive way, while also positioning them to meet food demands.