India’s genetically modified crop area fifth largest in world: Report

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According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) latest ‘Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/ GM Crops in 2017’ report, India with 11.4 million hectares (mh) has world’s fifth largest area cultivated under genetically modified (GM) crops in 2017.  India’s entire GM crop area is under single crop BT Cotton incorporating genes from Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt soil bacterium coding for resistance against heliothis bollworm insect pests.

Key Highlights of report

United States has highest area under transgenic crops, at 75 mh. It is followed by Brazil (50.2 mh), Argentina’s (23.6 mh) and Canada (13.1 mh). In 2017, farmers across the world have planted 189.8 mh under transgenic crops. This is as against 1.7 mh in 1996, the year when transgenic crops were grown commercially for the first time.
The highest share in world’s total 189.8 mh GM crop area in 2017 is of soyabean (94.1 mh), followed by maize (59.7 mh), cotton (24.1 mh), canola (10.2 mh), alfalfa (1.2 mh) and sugar-beet (0.50 mh). The GM traits of these crops (due to introduction of alien genes into host plants) included both insect-resistance and tolerance for application of glyphosate herbicide.

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