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Are we saving money or losing money by using GMOs?

Submitted by: Abigale Gilzow


Expert response from Dr. Stuart Smyth

Assistant Professor, Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, University of Saskatchewan

Thursday, 01/11/2018 17:40

It all depends on who ‘we’ is.

If ‘we’ is referring to farmers, then the answer is definitely making money. In 2014, one analysis of this issue examined the results of 147 studies on the economic impacts of GM crops, finding that on average, farmer profits rose by 68 percent. This assessment included studies of large GM crop production in countries such as the USA, Brazil and Argentina, but also small landholders with less than five acres of land in India, China and South Africa. In the subsequent years, further studies have been released that further support the evidence that farmers are making more money growing GM crops.

If ‘we’ refers to consumers, then the response is positive as well. As farmers produce higher yield, this helps keep prices stable and any price increase would be lower than the case where there was a shortage of any commodity. In an assessment I led a few years ago (Smyth, Kerr and Phillips, 2015), we found that the level of benefits to consumers varied from a five percent at the low end, to 53 percent. On average, consumers experience about 20 percent of the benefits from GM crops in the form of lower food prices.


S. J. Smyth, W. A. Kerr and P. W. B. Phillips, 2015. Global economic, environmental and health benefits from GM crop adoption. Global Food Security, 7: 24-29.