It might surprise you to learn that there are very few kinds of GM crops growing in the world today – the four major crops are soya, maize, cotton and canola. The most commonly grown GM crop is soya – it makes up almost half of all GM crops grown around the world. This soya has been genetically engineered to survive applications of herbicides (weedkiller), the most common one being Monsanto’s “RoundUp”.

South Africa is a tiny player on the world soya market, but has completely adopted GM soya production. Soya has been a staple food in Asia for three thousand years. During the “Green Revolution” in the 1960s, soya began to be cultivated as animal feed, with the United States taking the lead in world production. Soya is now a very valuable commercial crop grown to feed the massive livestock sector around the globe.

The United States is the world’s biggest producer – in 2011 their production was worth just under US$39 billion. Argentina and Brazil are the two other major soya-producing countries. In 2010 these three countries together produced about 81% of all the soya on the world market. This was produced on about 75 million hectares of land. Almost all of this soya was genetically modified.

Read the fact sheet here.