Environmental activists claim that the cultivation of genetically modified plants has led to significantly greater use of crop protection agents. A glance at the facts disproves this allegation. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
In the year 2017, plants that were bred using genetic engineering were planted worldwide on 190 million hectares Source. The most commonly grown crops are soybeans, cotton, corn and oilseed rape. Their advantage is that they are resistant to pest infestation and/or tolerate the crop protection product glyphosate, which allows farmers to remove unwanted weeds in a climate-friendly and soil-conserving fashion.
A 2014 study by agricultural scientists at the German University of Göttingen Source evaluated roughly 150 publications and reports from all over the world investigating the impact of the genetically modified soybean, corn and cotton field crops. Among these publications were also studies by non-governmental organizations. The researchers came to the conclusion that the farmers needed 37 percent fewer crop protection products on average, but harvested a 22 percent increase in yield. And, despite the higher costs for seed, the farmers’ profits increased by 68 percent on average.
A heavy reduction in the use of crop protection products was particularly noticeable in insect-resistant plants. The positive effects were greatest for farmers in developing countries, who were able to increase their earnings even more significantly than farmers in industrialized countries, such as the United States and Canada.