BioWorld International Correspondent

BRUSSELS, Belgium - Farmers in Europe played their part in the continued rapid adoption of biotech crops around the globe in 2006, according to figure released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications.

Organization Chairman Clive James predicted that the consistent global increase in adoption of biotech crops likely will prove to be a trend that merits increased recognition by the European Union.

One new country, Slovakia, joined another five EU member states with biotech crops. Spain continued to be the lead country in the EU, planting approximately 60,000 hectares in 2006.

The cumulative Bt maize hectarage in the other five countries (France, Czech Republic, Portugal, Germany and Slovakia) increased from 1,500 hectares in 2005 to some 8,500 hectares - with France accounting for 5,000 hectares.

In addition, Romania, an EU member state since the start of 2007, had 115,000 hectares of GM crops in cultivation in 2006, including nearly 80 percent of its soybean crop - although that will be discontinued in 2007.