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Economic Assessment of Genetically Modified Crops

Economic Assessment of Genetically Modified Crops

The debates on the benefits and threats of genetically modified crops are highly controversial and often misleading due to insufficient information and varying interpretations of existing data. In addition, it has not clearly been shown whether farmers benefit economically over time from growing genetically modified crops in relation to growing conventional crops. The project aimed to analyse the direct monetary and income effects for farmers growing genetically modified crops, as well as the decisive factors behind them. The report is available for download.

One of the main conclusions of the project is that while there are positive economic effects for a number of countries, there are strong regional variations in their benefits. It is therefore important not to draw conclusions on GM crops globally.

Numerous studies on the impacts of growing genetically modified (GM) crops on the farm level underline their economic benefits, mainly due to increased yields and reduced use of production inputs (pesticides, herbicides etc.). Other studies, however, report economic harm such as an increase in pesticide use, declining yields and incomes in the long run.

The objective of the project was to provide a comprehensive analysis of existing data on the economic performance of GM crops worldwide, focusing on the direct monetary and income effects for farmers growing GM crops, in particular soybean, canola, maize and cotton. Besides this, the variation in economic effects across space and time was addressed in statistical terms, taking geographical and agronomic parameters into account. The project assessed the quality of the data published in the literature by addressing in detail possible gaps and bias in data gathering and assessments.
Information on the economic performance of GM crops was drawn from reports on research projects, agricultural statistics, reports from international organisations and peer-reviewed literature.

The European Commission (DG Health and Consumers) published the report [pdf, 1.7 MB, English] on their website.

European Commission, Directorate-General Environment (DG Environment)
October 2009 to April 2010
Project ID
genetically modified crops, GMO, agriculture, agricultural economics, economics, worldwide, Europe