Genetically modified (GM) crops have an immense capability
of protecting the environment, an agricultural economist said.
According to Graham Brookes of PG Economics (United Kingdom),
the use of GM crops has reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
by an estimated 14.76 billion kilos in 2006.
He added that the growing impact of GM crops from 1996 to 2006
has resulted in pesticide use reduction by a whopping 15.47
percent, covering a total of 27 pesticide active ingredients
used by the European Union (EU) on arable crops in one year.
In GM insect-resistant cotton, for instance, 5.6 million kilos
of insecticide were observed to be reduced, said Brookes. With
the reduction on spraying, less fuel is used which resulted
in the reduction of CO2 emission by 5.8 billion kilos or equivalent
to 2.6 million cars off the road.
"This is equivalent to removing 6.56 million cars or 25
percent of cars registered in the United Kingdom from the road
in one year," he said in a forum.
Biotechnology crops were also said to promote low or no till
farming, a system which has cancelled the release of 13.5 billion
kilos of CO2 into the atmosphere. If no tillage would be continued,
63.9 billion kilos of CO2 would be reduced through additional
soil carbon sequestration.
In addition to this, Brookes said that the production of GM
crops has benefitted farmers, generating an accumulated income
of $33.8 billion. He added that such were able to effectively
lower food prices, especially in developing countries.
"Additional production has allowed significantly higher
volumes of commodities to be traded globally. It must have had
an important positive impact on mitigating the level of price
increases in world markets," he said.