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
"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.
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