For thousands of years, farmers have been using breeding techniques to “genetically modify” crops to improve quality and yield. Modern biotechnology allows plants breeders to select genes that produce beneficial traits and move them from one organism to another. Plant biotechnology is far more precise and selective than crossbreeding in producing desired agronomic traits.
Plant biotechnology has been adopted by farmers worldwide at rates never before seen by any other advances in the history of agriculture. In 2014, biotech crops were grown by 18 million farmers on 181 million hectares in 28 countries and more than 1.8 billion cumulative hectares have been planted since 1996. The reason for such impressive adoption rates is simple — plant biotechnology delivers significant and tangible benefits, all the way from the farm to the fork. Plant biotechnology has enabled improved farming techniques and crop production around the world by increasing plants’ resistance to diseases and pests; reducing pesticide applications; and maintaining and improving crop yields.