Is Australian Corn a GMO

Genetic engineering information service

What is growing where?

Here you will find figures on the cultivation of genetically modified plants and on GMO-free regions. Important: Since official data are often missing, most observers fall back on sources that are co-financed by the genetic engineering companies and lobby groups.

Cultivation of genetic engineering plants: worldwide
Cultivation of genetic engineering plants: EU
Germany: Commercial cultivation
Germany: experimental cultivation
GMO-free regions: worldwide
GMO-free regions: Germany

Cultivation of genetic engineering plants: worldwide

The first commercial cultivation of genetically modified plants took place in the USA in 1996. Since then, the worldwide cultivation area (including trial cultivation) has increased to around 190 million hectares in 2017, according to the industry-friendly ISAAA. The growth of the total genetic engineering area is subject to fluctuations and can also decrease, in 2015 by one percent to around 180 million ha.

Worldwide, 3.6% of the world’s agricultural area (approx. 5 billion ha) and 12.8% of the world’s arable land (approx. 1.4 billion ha) are planted with genetic engineering. This means that 96.4% of the usable agricultural area and 87.2% of the arable land are still cultivated GMO-free.

A large part of the genetic engineering plants are in seven countries USA (39%), Brazil (26%), Argentina (12%), Canada (7%), India (6%) as well as Pakistan (2%) and Paraguay (2% ) planted.

There are essentially four crops: soy (50%), maize (31%), cotton (13%) and rapeseed (5%). The plants are endowed with either herbicide tolerance (47%), genes to produce their own insecticide (12%) or both (41%).

Genetically engineered sugar beets are grown on small areas in the USA and Canada, papaya is grown in Hawaii (USA) and alfalfa is also grown in the USA.

Cultivation of genetic engineering plants in the EU

The genetically modified maize MON810 has been approved for commercial cultivation in the European Union (EU) since 1998. However, GM maize is not allowed to be grown in several EU countries: Germany, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary. In 2017, MON810 accounted for just 0.13% of the EU's arable land with 124,000 hectares (according to the FAO this was 108 million hectares in 2012). 94% of the EU's GM maize grew in 2017 in Spain, the rest in Portugal.

The genetic engineering potato "Amflora" was allowed to be grown from 2010 to 2013 - in December 2013, approval was withdrawn from the EU court. There hasn't been an extension since 2011 anyway.

Commercial cultivation of genetic engineering plants in Germany

In Germany, the GM maize MON810 was allowed to be grown from 2005 to 2008. In 2008, 3,171 hectares were planted with GM maize. This corresponded to 0.15% of the total German maize cultivation area of ​​2,087,100 ha. 99% of the cultivation area was in the federal states of Brandenburg (1245 ha), Saxony (953 ha), Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (746 ha) and Saxony-Anhalt (196 Ha). The installation of the MON810 has been prohibited since April 2009.

From March 2010, the cultivation of the genetically modified Amflora potato was permitted. In 2010 the potato was planted on 15 ha in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in 2011 only on 2 ha in Saxony-Anhalt. In 2012 there was no more commercial cultivation. In December 2013 the Amflora license was declared null and void by the EU court.

DMK: Total maize cultivation in Germany in 2008

Location register: figures on the cultivation of GM plants in Germany

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GMO-free regions worldwide

In many countries around the world, genetically modified crops are not grown. In developing countries there is often no legal basis. However, the pressure from the seed and agrochemical industry on governments is great to allow genetic engineering and to sign international seed agreements that make traditional seed production more difficult.

In the Switzerland There has been a moratorium on the commercial cultivation of genetically modified plants since 2005, which was extended by another five years in 2017. Scientific releases of genetic engineering plants are permitted in Switzerland.

In Russia At the beginning of 2015, a draft law was presented to prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified plants (government communication [Russian]. In June 2016, a law on the cultivation of genetically modified crops was passed.

The Australian island nation TasmaniaAt the beginning of 2014 extended a moratorium on genetic engineering plants and animals that had been in effect since 2001 for an indefinite period.

In Europe, there are cultivation bans for the GM maize MON810 in some EU member states. However, releases for research purposes are possible.

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Europe and elsewhere

In addition, there are more and more regions and national states that speak out against the cultivation of genetic engineering in their territories. Although these agreements are not legally anchored and do not provide a legally secure guarantee for GMO-free fields, it shows farmers in the region how their neighbors position themselves on the subject of genetic engineering.

The European network of GMO-free regions more than 60 regional governments from several EU member states have joined. In the "Charter of Florence" they declare to advocate the right of individual European regions to GM-free agriculture, to guarantee the protection of traditional and organic seeds from genetic contamination and to promote the establishment of the polluter pays principle.

With the accession of the umbrella organization of the Greek prefectures has Greece as the first EU country to be fully known to be GMO-free. France, Italy and Austria have declared themselves GM-free with most of their national regions. But also Spain has regions that speak out clearly against agro-genetic engineering, even though the country is the only one in the EU where transgenic maize is grown on a larger scale. These include the Basque Country, Asturias, Mallorca and the Canary Islands.

In Germany Schleswig-Holstein, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Thuringia, Lower Saxony, Hesse, Bavaria and Hamburg have joined. The network also has members in Scotland, Wales and Croatia.

This movement is strongest in Europe. Genetically modified regions are also known from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India and Mexico. For example, voters in County Jackson in the US state of Oregon voted with a two-thirds majority for a ban on the cultivation of genetically modified plants.

Genetically modified regions in Germany

The network of regions free of genetic engineering in Germany is based on a joint initiative by the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND) and the working group for rural agriculture (AbL). Regions, farms, municipalities and churches undertake to cultivate their own arable land in a GMO-free manner. Cities and municipalities are committed to ensuring that genetically modified food and animal products from genetic engineering feed are dispensed with in their canteens in offices and schools. The declarations are binding, but not anchored in law. According to a legal opinion, however, the law to strengthen GM-free regions could be changed.

Since the network was founded in 2009, more than 200 regions and initiatives have committed themselves to freedom from genetic engineering. The agriculturally used area within the regions and municipalities has expanded to more than one million hectares. More than 30,000 farmers are taking part. Most of the GMO-free regions are in the federal states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Brandenburg.

In addition, there have been attempts by individual federal states not to provide any funds for research into agro-genetic engineering, to advocate for the ban on patents on plants and animals, and for stricter and more comprehensive labeling and control of genetically engineered foods.

Regions /
Usable area in ha
Gf municipalities / land travel
total21531.9601.18 million347
Baden-Wuerttemberg34 5.330158.51465
Berlin-Brandenburg8 34993.32612
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania1116269.39415
Lower Saxony4352.11919
North Rhine-Westphalia231.05631.17028

Status: July 2016

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