For the first time since the introduction of biotech/ genetically modified (GM) crops almost two decades ago, developing countries have grown more hectares of them than industrialised countries, contributing to food security and further alleviating poverty in some of the world's most vulnerable regions.
Developing nations planted 52% of the global GM crops in 2012, up from 50% a year earlier, a report out yesterday by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA).
Last year also marked an unprecedented 100-fold rise in the area planted, with GM crops now accounting for 170 million hectares up from 1.7 million in 1996, when GM crops were first commercialised.
"This makes biotech crops the fastest adopted crop technology in recent history," said Clive James, veteran author of the annual report and founder and chairman of ISAAA.
"This growth is contrary to the prediction of critics, who, prior to the commercialisation of the technology in 1996, prematurely declared biotech crops were only for industrial countries and would never be accepted and adopted by developing countries," he added.
A record 17.3 million farmers grew GM crops globally in 2012, up 600,000 from a year earlier. Over 90% of these farmers – more than 15 million – were small-scale, resource-poor farmers in developing countries.
China, India, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa grew 78.2 million hectares, or 46%, of global GM crops in 2012.
For the fourth consecutive year, Brazil was the engine of growth globally in 2012. Brazil ranks second only to the US in worldwide GM crop planting, growing at a year-to-year record 6.3 million hectares, or a substantial 21%, to reach 36.6 million hectares in 2012 compared to 30.3m in 2011.
The US continued to be the lead country with 69.5 million hectares, with an average 90% adoption across all crops.
The Cumberland and Dumfriesshire Farmers Mart had 30 prime cattle forward at the Dumfries sale on Wednesday. Bullocks sold to 209.5p per kg and averaged 201.1p, while heifers peaked at 236.5p and levelled at 214.1p.
There were 51 OTM cattle presented in the rough ring with beef cows averaging 134.3p and dairy cows levelling at 119.7p.
The firm also sold 774 prime hoggs to a top of £88.50 per head and 188p per kg to average 163p.
The 637 cast sheep forward saw heavy ewes sell to £108.50 for Texels and average £54.11, while light ewes peaked at 361.50 for Lleyns and levelled at £27.56.
United Auctions sold 929 store bullocks at Stirling on Wednesday to a top of 275p and an average of 217.5p (+3p on the week), while 500 store heifers peaked at 235.3p and levelled at 212.2p (+0.5p).
In the rough ring 154 cast cows averaged 141,6p.