Using resources efficiently

If you’re wondering why farmers have chosen to grow GM crops, it helps to consider the challenges they face.


Some GM corn crops protect harvests in water-limited conditions better than conventionally produced crops. Other GM crops can also promote the use of no-till farming, which improves soil health by retaining carbon and moisture. No-till also enables farmers to make fewer passes through the field using machinery, which means less fuel used and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

16.7 million
In 2016 the use of GM crops helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing how many 16.7 million cars from the roads.

Fighting pests and disease

Scientists are developing crops that look and taste the same as their non-GM counterparts, but are resistant to insects and plant-specific diseases that can impact a farmer’s harvest. Plants with traits that protect roots from insect damage have an additional benefit of using water more efficiently.

U.S. farmers who have adopted insect-resistant GM corn and cotton have seen a reduction in pesticide use by 90% and 66% respectively since the adoption of those traits in 1996.


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Conserving natural habitats

Without the use of GM crops, farmers would have needed to plant an additional 22.4 million hectares to maintain global production levels in 2016. That’s an area equivalent to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka combined.

GM seeds help farmers around the world meet the increasing demand for food by helping them make the most of their existing arable land, thus enabling them to preserve nearby habitats such as rainforests and prairies.


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