The income and production effects of biotech crops globally 1996–2010


A critical feature in evaluating the global value of crop biotechnology in agriculture must include an assessment of its economic impact at the farm level. This paper follows earlier studies which examined economic impacts on yields, key costs of production, direct farm income, indirect (non-pecuniary) farm level income effects and impacts on the production base of the four main crops of soybeans, corn, cotton and canola. The commercialization of biotech crops is continuing to proceed rapidly, with significant changes in the overall level of adoption and impact taking place in 2010. This updated analysis shows that there have been substantial net economic benefits at the farm level amounting to $14 billion in 2010 and $78.4 billion for the 15-year period (in nominal terms). The non-pecuniary benefits associated with the use of the technology have also had a positive impact on adoption (in the US accounting for the equivalent of 22% of the total US direct farm income benefit). Biotech crops are, moreover, making important contributions to increasing global production levels of the four main crops. They have, for example, now added 97.5 million tons and 159 million tons respectively, to the global production of soybeans and corn since the introduction of the technology in the mid-1990s.

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The income and production effects of biotech crops globally 1996–2010