Graham Brookes and Peter Barfoot
PG Economics, Ltd., Dorchester, UK
This article updates the assessment of the impact of commercialized agricultural biotechnology on global agriculture from an economic perspective. It examines specific global economic impacts on farm income, indirect (non-pecuniary) farm-level income effects and impacts on the production base of the four main crops—soybeans, corn, cotton, and canola. The analysis shows that there have been substantial net economic benefits at the farm level, amounting to $10.1 billion in 2007 and $44.1 billion for the 12-year period (in nominal terms). The non-pecuniary benefits associated with the use of the technology have also had a positive impact on adoption (in the US accounting for the equivalent of 25% of the total direct farm income benefit). Biotech crops have also made important contributions to increasing global production levels of the four main crops—adding, for example, 68 million tonnes and 62 million tonnes respectively to global production of soybeans and corn.
Key words: Yield, cost, income, non-pecuniary benefit, production, biotech crops.