The impact of the EU regulatory constraint of transgenic crops on farm income
February 25, 2011
World population and the need for nutritious food continue to grow. For 14 years farmers from a range of countries across the globe have been accessing transgenic technologies either to reduce crop production costs, increase yield and/or to exploit a range of rotational benefits. In 2009 134 Mha of transgenic crops was grown. The arable area of the EU 27 is approximately 102 Mha; however, only about 0.1 Mha of transgenic crops, mainly maize in Spain, is grown in the EU. This is in part due to limited approvals before the establishment of a moratorium on the cultivation of transgenic crops. In this paper we estimate the revenue foregone by EU farmers, based on the potential hectarages of IR and HT transgenic crops that have been economically successful elsewhere if they were to be grown in areas of the EU where farmers could expect an overall financial benefit. This benefit would accrue primarily from reduced input costs. We estimate that if the areas of transgenic maize, cotton, soya, oil seed rape and sugar beet were to be grown where there is agronomic need or benefit then farmer margins would increase by between €443 and €929 M/year. It is noted that this margin of revenue foregone is likely to increase if the current level of approval and growth remains low, as new transgenic events come to market and are rapidly taken up by farmers in other parts of the world.
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Published: February 25, 2011