Global income and production impacts of using GM crop technology 1996-2013

GM Crops Food. 2015;6(1):13-46. doi: 10.1080/21645698.2015.1022310.


This paper provides an economic assessment of the value of using genetically modified (GM) crop technology in agriculture at the farm level. It follows and updates earlier annual studies which examined economic impacts on yields, key costs of production, direct farm income and effects, and impacts on the production base of the 4 main crops of soybeans, corn, cotton and canola. The commercialisation of GM crops has continued to occur at a rapid rate since the mid 1990s, with important changes in both the overall level of adoption and impact occurring in 2013. This annual updated analysis shows that there continues to be very significant net economic benefits at the farm level amounting to $20.5 billion in 2013 and $133.4 billion for the 18 years period (in nominal terms). These economic gains have been divided roughly 50% each to farmers in developed and developing countries. About 70% of the gains have derived from yield and production gains with the remaining 30% coming from cost savings. The technology have also made important contributions to increasing global production levels of the 4 main crops, having added 138 million tonnes and 273 million tonnes respectively, to the global production of soybeans and maize since the introduction of the technology in the mid 1990s.

Keywords: ALS, herbicides that inhibit acetolactate synthese; GM, genetic modification; HT, herbicide tolerant; IR, insect resistant; cost; genetically modified crops; income; production; yield.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / economics*
  • Agriculture / trends
  • Biotechnology / economics
  • Brassicaceae / chemistry
  • Brassicaceae / genetics
  • Brassicaceae / growth & development
  • Cost Savings
  • Crops, Agricultural / economics*
  • Crops, Agricultural / growth & development
  • Crops, Agricultural / supply & distribution*
  • Gossypium / genetics
  • Gossypium / growth & development
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / growth & development*
  • Soybeans / genetics
  • Soybeans / growth & development
  • Zea mays / genetics
  • Zea mays / growth & development