In 2015, for the first time, the acreage used for the crops declined, according to a nonprofit that tracks the plantings of biotech seeds.
The organization said the main cause for the decline, which measured 1 percent from 2014 levels, was low commodity prices, which led farmers to plant less corn, soybeans and canola of all types, both genetically engineered and non-engineered.
But the figures for the last few years show that the existing market for the crops has nearly been saturated.
Only three countries — the United States, Brazil and Argentina — account for more than three-quarters of the total global acreage. And only four crops — corn, soybeans, cotton and canola — account for the majority of biotechnology use in agriculture. In many cases, more than 90 percent of those four crops grown in those three countries, and in other large growers like Canada, India and China, is already genetically modified, leaving little room for expansion.
Efforts to expand use of biotechnology to other crops and to other countries have been hindered by opposition from consumer and environmental groups, regulatory hurdles and in some cases scientific obstacles.
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