This is the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) animated video promoting the use of biotech/GM crops it believes to be the future of sustainable agriculture. The video features “Mandy and Fanny” animated cartoon impersonating biotech/GM maize and biotech/GM cotton two biotech crops which have been grown on millions of hectares since 1996.

Asian countries are adopting genetically modified (GM) crops faster than ever before says the latest report on the Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM crops:2011 from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (Report see Rice Today below).

The report states that developing countries grew about 50% of global biotech crops in 2011 and are expected to exceed the area in industrial countries in 2012. In 2011,7 million farmers each in India and China grew Bt cotton; the gain in productivity from Bt cotton in India alone is estimated at US$2.5 billion.

The growth rate for biotech crops in 2011 was twice as fast and twiceas large in developing countries, at11% or 8.2 million hectares, versus 5%or 3.8 million hectares in industrial countries.

For some crops in industrial countries, GM crops already account for more than 90% of the crops planted, such as maize and cotton in the U.S. In China, the government has reconfirmed the national importance of biotech crops to be developed under strict biosafety standards.

Bt rice (with built-in insect resistance) was biosafety-approved in 2009 in China and is now undergoing standard field testing for variety releases. As reported in Farm Chemicals International, author Clive James said that when GM rice comes on board in 2013 or 2014, the concentration of growth in developing countries will be even more obvious than it is now.

“I’ve had the privilege of talkingto farmers in 150 countries aroundthe world, and one feature about farmers is that they are risk-averse,” says James.

“They are used to dealing with uncertainty, and very rarely canyou fool a farmer.“If the technology doesn’t deliver the benefits, farmers are the first toreject it,” he concluded.

However European countries are still wary of GM crop concerns over its effects on human and environmental health.  AFP Apr 4, 2012 reports:

Poland will impose a complete ban on growing the MON810 genetically modified strain of maize made by US company Monsanto on its territory, Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki said Wednesday.

“The decree is in the works. It introduces a complete ban on the MON810 strain of maize in Poland,” Sawicki told reporters, adding that pollen of this strain could have a harmful effect on bees.

On March 9, seven European countries — Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ireland and Slovakia — blocked a proposal by the Danish EU presidency to allow the cultivation of genetically-modified plants on the continent.

Seven days after that, France imposed a temporary ban on the MON810 strain.

Talks on allowing the growing of genetically-modified plants on EU soil are now deadlocked as no majority has emerged among the 27 member states.

Rice Today Vol. 11, No. 2