- Created on Sunday, 16 September 2012 18:40
South Africa is considered the leader in crop biotechnology in Africa and has been commercially growing biotech crops since 1998. South Africa is ranked number eight in the world in terms of total biotech crop area with a total biotech crop area of 1.813 million ha in 2008, almost a 30% increase over the 1.4 million ha in 2006.
Biotech maize, cotton and soybean are grown in South Africa and their adoption rate has increased every single year since the first plantings in 1998. The total area of biotech maize in 2008 was 1.617 million ha, which is 62% of total maize area this is a 5% increase from 2007. The total area of white maize was 1.6 million ha of which 56% was biotech maize. The total area of yellow maize was 1 million ha of which 72% was biotech maize. Of the total area of biotech maize, 64% was Bt maize, 17% was herbicide tolerant maize and 19% stacked trait maize.
In 2008 the total area of soybean planted was 230, 000 ha of which 184,000 ha or 80% was biotech soybean.
In 2008 the total area of cotton planted was13, 000 ha of which 12,000 or 92% was biotech cotton. Of the total area of biotech cotton 83% was of staked trait cotton 9% was herbicide tolerant cotton and 8% was Bt cotton.
South African farm income from biotech crops in 2007 is estimated at US$227 million. This is a significant benefit to both small-scale and commercial farmers who have put their trust and confidence in biotech crops.
South Africa plays an extremely important role in the biotech sector in Africa as it has the experience of planting biotech crops for over 10 years. It is vital for South Africa to continue participating in technology transfer programs with the rest of Africa and the world.