FEBRUARY 13, 2009: Some 13 million farmers across 25 countries are believed to have grown genetically modified crops last year, it is claimed.

More than 125m hectares (308m acres) were planted to GM crops, said the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications.The figures represent a 9.4% increase in the global biotech crop area over the past 12 months.Seven of the 27 European Union countries planted Bt maize on a commercial basis.The total Bt maize area for the seven countries increased from 88,673ha in 2007 to 107,719ha in 2008 – a 21% year-on-year increase.The seven EU countries listed in order of GM area were Spain, Czech Republic, Romania, Portugal, Germany, Poland and Slovakia.ISAAA chairman Clive James said GM crops appeared poised for a new wave of strong adoption.Julian Little, of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council, an umbrella group for the UK biotech industry, said GM technology delivered more consistent and efficient yields of higher quality crops.No GM crops had been approved for cultivation in Britain in the past 10 years, “denying those who want to grow GM crops in this country the right to do so”.The Soil Association and other groups opposed to the adoption of GM technology claim it is not the answer to food shortages and will create more problems than it solves.Prince Charles caused controversy last year when he said GM risks “causing the world’s worst economic disaster”. He accused multinational firms of conducting “an experiment with Nature that has gone seriously wrong”.

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