Genetically modified crops resumed their march across the world’s farmland last year, with GM plants covering a record 185m hectares — 3 per cent more than 2015. By far the largest increase was in Brazil, the engine of global GM growth, where the area expanded by 11 per cent to 44m hectares.


The figures come from the most authoritative annual survey of GM crops worldwide, carried out by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, a global network of non-profit centres that promote agricultural biotechnology. The equivalent ISAAA study a year ago had shown a small decrease in planting, the first since GM crops were commercialised 20 years ago.

这些数据来自有关全球转基因农作物的最权威年度调查,调查由国际农业生物技术应用服务组织(International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications,简称ISAAA)展开。该组织是一个全球性网络,旗下有多个推广农业生物技术的非营利中心。该组织一年前的研究显示,转基因农作物种植面积略有减少,这是自转基因农作物20年前开始商业化种植以来的首次。

Paul Teng of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, ISAAA chair, attributed the upturn to various factors in different parts of the world. “There was some recovery in commodity prices, which had a positive effect particularly in the US,” he said. “Favourable weather led to an increase in planting in several countries.

ISAAA主席、新加坡南洋理工大学(Nanyang Technological University)教授Paul Teng将转基因农作物种植面积恢复增长归因于全球不同地区的多个因素。“大宗商品价格有所回升,这尤其在美国产生了积极影响,”他表示,“有利的天气使多个国家的种植面积增加。”

“But the main driving force is that farmers appreciate the immense benefits of biotech crops for improved productivity and profitability, as well as conservation efforts,” said Professor Teng.


Sales of GM seeds in 2016 were also up 3 per cent on 2015, according to data provided by Cropnosis, a research company. The market was worth $15.8bn, equivalent to 35 per cent of global commercial seed sales ($45bn).


Four species still dominate GM planting: maize, soyabeans, cotton and canola (oilseed rape). The two main “traits” or characteristics conferred by genetic engineering so far have been herbicide tolerance, which enables farmers to spray fields with a weedkiller that does not harm the crop, and insect resistance, which stops pests eating the plants.


But new GM crops would soon propel another wave of expansion, Professor Teng said: “With commercial approvals and plantings of new varieties of biotech potatoes and apples, consumers will begin to enjoy direct benefits of biotechnology with produce that is not likely to spoil or be damaged, which in turn has the potential to substantially reduce food waste and consumer grocery costs.” For example genes added to GM apples and potatoes make them more resistant to browning or bruising when cut or bashed.

但新的转基因作物将会很快引发新一波扩张,Paul Teng表示:“随着以生物技术培育的新品种土豆和苹果获得商业化批准和种植,消费者将能开始享受到生物技术带来的直接益处,农产品不太可能坏掉或被破坏,从而有可能大量减少食品浪费和消费者在食品方面的成本。”例如,被添加进转基因苹果和土豆的基因,可使苹果和土豆在切开或受到撞击时更不容易变色或碰伤。

Although consumer and environmental groups across the world continue to resist GM crops, the resolutely pro-biotech ISAAA detects signs of changing attitudes.


In Africa, for instance, “a new wave of acceptance is emerging”, with field trials of GM banana, cowpea and sorghum under way in several countries. Even in Europe, the heartland of anti-GM sentiment, 136,000 hectares of insect-resistant maize were planted — 17 per cent up on 2015.


The commercial concentration of agricultural biotechnology is set to increase this year, with megamergers in progress between Bayer and Monsanto, Dow Chemical and DuPont, and Syngenta and ChemChina. Although the industry’s critics have expressed concern, Prof Teng is supportive.

今年,农业生物技术行业的集中度料将上升,数起特大合并正在推进,包括拜耳(Bayer)与孟山都(Monsanto)、陶氏化学(Dow Chemical)与杜邦(DuPont),以及先正达(Syngenta)与中国化工(ChemChina)。尽管业内批评人士表达了担忧,但Paul Teng支持这一趋势。

“I really think that having fewer companies will be better for farmers,” he said. “The three or four companies left will be better at carrying out groundbreaking R&D, transferring technology from the public sector and complying with international standards.”


来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: http://www.tingvoa.com/html/20170523/466431.html