Dr. Clive James, Founder and Emeritus Chair of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) shared recent global developments in biotechnology during a seminar on “Global Status of Biotech/GM Crops in 2013” held in Jakarta on 28 February 2014 which was organized by the Indonesian Biotechnology Information Center (IndoBIC).
In his 2013 Global Status Report on Biotech Crops, Dr. James revealed that there is now a total of 175 million hectares devoted to commercial biotech crop production globally from 1.7 million hectares in 1996 when biotechnology started to be adopted. The United States continues to lead global biotech crop plantings at 70.1 million hectares or 40 percent of total global hectares. He noted that remarkable increases were registered in developing countries (94 million hectares or 54 percent increase) than in industrial countries (81 million hectares or 46 percent increase). He added that there were 18 million farmers, particularly in China and India, that cultivated biotech crops in 2013 which is 0.7 million more than in 2012. Of this number, about 90 percent or over 16.5 million were small resource-poor farmers in developing countries.
Dr. Clive also highlighted a significant development in biotechnology in Indonesia about the government’s approval to plant and commercialize the world’s first drought-tolerant sugarcane in 2014.
On giving his welcome remarks for the seminar, Dr. Bambang Purwantara, Director of the Indonesian Biotechnology Information Center (IndoBIC) and SEAMEO-BIOTROP, shared other marked developments in the approval of various biotech crops for food and feed in Indonesia. Other than the drought-tolerant sugarcane, he said that the cultivation of Bt corn, GM potato as well as the golden rice in Indonesia is also expected to begin soon.
The seminar was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture of Indonesia, theIndonesian Society for Agricultural Biotechnology (PBPI), and CropLife Indonesia and supported by SEAMEO BIOTROP, and ISAAA. It was attended by 128 stakeholders consisting of scientists, academicians, policy makers, farmers, journalists, and agro-businessmen. (DS)