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Posted: Thu, 01 Mar 2012 18:21
Biotech Seminar Reports Increase in Global GM Crops Adoption in 2011 - 294 time(s) visited
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A recent Seminar on “Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops in 2011” highlighted the significant achievements on biotechnology research and the adoption of genetically modified crops in developing as well as developed countries.  The seminar was organized by the Indonesian Biotechnology Information Center (IndoBIC) in collaboration with the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD), Indonesian Society for Agricultural Biotechnology (PBPI), and supported by SEAMEO BIOTROP, Croplife Indonesia,  and the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

Held on 20 February 2012 at the Auditorium of the Ministry of Agriculture of Indonesia in  Jakarta, the seminar was attended by 122 participants consisting of scientists, academicians, students, policy makers, farmers, journalists, agro-businessmen, and the general public. 

In his opening remarks during the seminar, Indonesian Vice Minister of Agriculture, Dr.  Rusman Heryawan, emphasized that the rapid increase in Indonesia’s population would require an increase in the country’s rice production by 3.5%/year. By 2050, the world’s population is predicted to increase dramatically and Indonesia is expected to be the 6th biggest populated country in the world by then.  To ensure food security in anticipation of this population growth, Dr. Rusman  further said that the Indonesian Government supports GM crops research as mentioned in PP 21 2005. He also shared that through the IAARD, the government’s policy on GM research includes increasing and building human resource capacities, facilities, and management of local genetic resources, and also establishing a National Commision for Biosafety. In fact, several commodities have already been lined up for Biosafety assesment such as drought tolerant sugarcane, Maize line NK603, Maize line Mon89034, and Maize line TC1507.

The keynote report from Dr. Clive James, Founder & Chairman of ISAAA, noted a 1.3 million or 8% increase in the number of farmers from 2010 that grew biotech crops in 2011. This increase brings the total number of biotech farmers to 16.7 million globally.   Of this figure, over 90%, or 15 million, are small resource-poor farmers in developing countries. Dr. James mentioned that a record 7 million small farmers in China and another 7 million in India elected to plant 14.5 million hectares of Bt cotton in 2011. Interestingly, he further reported that developing countries grew ~50% of global biotech crops in 2011 and are expected to exceed industrial country hectarage in 2012. In 2011, growth rate for biotech crops was twice as fast, and twice as large, in developing countries, at 11% or 8.2 million hectares, versus 5% or 3.8 million hectares in industrial countries. (DS)