GM technology is globally recognized as a powerful tool to improve productivity, profitability and sustainability of farm production systems, including that of small farm holdings. Since the first farm level cultivation of GM crops in 1996, the global area under GM crops in 2011 reached 148 million hectares (mha) with 29 countries growing them. In India, the area under Bt cotton has reached a staggering 9.4 mha in just 8 years since its first release, comprising nearly 86% of the total 11 mha cotton area. Bt maize in the Philippines, grown for the first time in 2003, covered an area of 0.5 mha in 2010. In China, GM cotton, papaya, tomato, sweet pepper and poplar are being grown over 3.5 mha while approval was granted in 2009 to GM rice and maize, which are likely to be commercialized in three years following completion of routine field trials.
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