EXTRACT: (ISAAA) 2007 data included GM poplar trees in China for the first time. These have been planted for many years, and their inclusion goes some way to explaining the increased area of GM planting since 2006 claimed by ISAAA.
World Remains Highly Dependent on Conventionally-Bred Crops
Industry Claims Grossly Exaggerate GM Importance
GM Freeze, 14 February 2008
GM Freeze has described the latest biotech industry-funded assessment  of the importance of GM crops around the world as a 'gross exaggeration'.
Industry data puts the area under GM crops at 114 million hectares in 2007, which represent just 2.2% of global farm and commercial forestry land. GM Freeze point out that this means that nearly 98% of crops grown are non-GM. In addition, the vast majority of crops, such as wheat, barley, rice, potatoes, fruit and vegetables, are conventionally bred non-GM varieties.
The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) 2007 data included GM poplar trees in China for the first time. These have been planted for many years, and their inclusion goes some way to explaining the increased area of GM planting since 2006 claimed by ISAAA.
A more accurate assessment of the relative proportions of areas grown, if it includes trees, would have to include all commercial forestry land, not just agricultural land, bringing the area grown down to a mere 2.2% globally.
In the European Union, where the market for GM crops is very small, over 99.75% of agricultural land is growing non-GM crops.
ISAAA predicts that the area under GM will reach 200 million hectares in 2015. This means that even by the biotech industry's own best estimate, well over 95% of crops will still be produced from seeds bred without GM technology well into the future.
The majority of GM crops are herbicide tolerant and insect resistant. Both are beginning to run into agronomic problems because of:
*Weed resistance to Monsanto's RoundUp weedkiller  *Resistance in insect pest to GM Bt crops  *Secondary pests in Bt crops 
Commenting Pete Riley of GM Freeze said: 'Industry projections for 2015 are hardly impressive. After 20 years of commercial growing, and 40 years of research and development, GM crops will still be very much a minority technology in agriculture. Their claims are a gross exaggeration. Promises of GM drought-tolerant crops made over a decade ago have not been delivered because these crops will require more complex genetic engineering, which is more difficult to control and predict. Government departments, like our own DFID, would do well to reassess their research priorities and recognise that research, development and training in conventional plant breeding has to be given greater importance in the Global South.
'GM Freeze dismisses the ISAAA claims that subsistence farmers are benefiting from GM crops. Most GM crops grow in prairie-type monocultures in the USA, Brazil, Argentina, and Canada. The biotech industry concentrates on developing cash crops for export and not food crops to feed hungry people.'
Calls to Pete Riley 0845 217 8992 /07903 341065 or Eve Mitchell 07962 437128