The United States today is known to be the leading producer of genetically modified crops. After all, it was in the United States that the technology behind genetic modification of crops was extensively developed and improved. From there, the technology and the resulting products were exported to other countries where a variety of genetically modified crops are also now being grown.
The United States still remains on top when it comes to the most number of genetically modified crops being grown in terms of acreage. The US has continually increased its planting of GM crops over the years to lead the way for other countries that accept the planting of GM crops to follow suit.
Currently, the total global area on which GM crops are being planted have grown steadily at an average double digit growth rate for the tenth consecutive year. The average growth rate stands somewhere between 10 to 13 percent. This means an average annual increase of about 30 million acres or 12 million hectares of land being used to grow and cultivate GM crops.
As of 2006, land area being used to cultivate different GM crops all over the world has totaled about 252 million acres or 102 million hectares all in all. It was in 2006 that a milestone has been reached. For the very first time, the global hectare age for growing genetically modified crops was able to reach the hundred million mark.
Not only that, 2006 was also the year that the number of farmers all over the world that cultivated genetically modified crops has exceeded the 10 million mark at 10.3 million. From 1996 to 2006, the accumulated hectare showed an incredible 60 fold increase, making genetic modification the fastest crop technology widely adopted globally in recent history.
As of today, there are about 22 countries that have started planting a type of genetically modified crop, again being led by the United States. As of 2006 statistics, the US has over 53 percent share of the global biotech crop production in about 54.6 million hectares of land reserved for GM crop cultivation.
The US is followed by Argentina with 18 million hectares of land being used for GM crops. Brazil came in third with 11.5 million hectares reserved for GM crops. Canada (6.1 million hectares) and India (3.8million hectares) came in fourth and fifth, respectively, to round up the top five.
Genetically modified soybeans have continually become the principal GM crop grown all over the world. GM soybeans were grown in over 58.6 million hectares of land scattered all over the world.
Genetically modified maize became the second most planted GM crop globally occupying over 25.2 million hectares of land or about 25 percent of the global biotech area. GM cotton came in next at 13.4 million hectares of global land being used for its cultivation while GM canola came in at fourth with 4.8 million hectares of land or about five percent of the global GM crop area.