Bred for Europe but grown in America: the case of GM sugar beet
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In 2007, a genetically modified herbicide tolerant (GMHT) sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) tolerant against glyphosate, a commonly used broad spectrum herbicide, was commercialised in the USA and Canada. The speed of uptake of GMHT sugar beet by farmers has no precedent. While it took the hitherto most successful GM crop in the USA 15 years to reach an adoption rate of 95%, GMHT sugar beet achieved this figure after only 2 years. This paper traces the history of GMHT sugar beet which started at the European continent and describes the economic and environmental impact of its introduction in the USA. The results suggest that the rapid adoption is economically sound with adopter rents averaging $257/ha. Moreover the adoption has a high potential to reduce the environmental impact of sugar beet production. Will these experiences bring GMHT sugar beet back to its roots in Europe?
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