Sunday, April 30, 2017

Agricultural chemicals as of 2012 was a $62 billion business.

Of that, it is estimated $11 billion are in genetically modified seeds. I'd be cautious of seeds classified as an agricultural chemical product.

Global fertilizer use was merely 27 million tons in 1959 and 1960; it increased five times to 141 million metric tons over the forty-year period ending in 2000. The projected fertilizer demand for the year 2020 is 220 million metric tons. Intensive fertilizer use on input-responsive cultivars grown on prime irrigated land was the basis of the green revolution in South Asia and elsewhere that saved millions from hunger and malnutrition. As the world population increases and cropland becomes more valuable, total cropland acreage is beginning to diminish, increasing the reliance on fertilizer.

Similar to fertilizer use, there has also been a rapid increase in global pesticide use. In fact, much of the success of the green revolution depended on the use of pesticides. Global pesticide use was four million tons in 1970, five million tons in 1985, and six million tons in 2001. As much as 85 percent of all pesticides are used in agriculture. The misuse of pesticides can cause severe environmental problems, especially in developing countries. It is estimated that chemical pollution in agriculture costs about $100 billion in diverse public health and environmental damage each year worldwide. The health risks are due to a lack of or inadequate occupational and other safety standards, insufficient enforcement, poor labeling, illiteracy, and insufficient knowledge about the hazards of pesticides and fertilizers.