Genetically engineered crop plantings increased 15 percent last year despite continued consumer resistance in Europe and elsewhere, according the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. Seven million farmers in 18 countries grew engineered crops on 167.2 million acres last year, compared with 145 million acres in 2002.
In 1996, the first year genetically modified crops were commercially available, about 4.3 million acres were planted. According to ISAAA, 18 percent of the world's 3.7 billion acres that are cultivated for food-crops are biotech. U.S. farmers grew 105.7 million acres of GMO crops, mostly corn, soybeans and cotton.
Many groups continue to campaign against GMO technology. In California, Mendocino County residents will vote in March whether to ban GMO plants and animals there. Similar campaigns are underway in Vermont, Hawaii and elsewhere. In Europe, a five-year moratorium on new crops remains in place.