Global access to education is growing. Here’s how GMO crops might be helping


One of the consistent benefits of GM crop adoption has been a higher farm and household income. In an assessment of the impacts of GM crops …. nearly 150 publications from around the globe were examined, of which the average increase in farmer profits was calculated to be 68%.

While I’m not aware of any research that has directly examined the correlation between higher farm household incomes from GM crops and increased child education rates, there is anecdotal evidence. One example comes from a female South African farmer.

[Editor’s note: Stuart Smyth is a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Saskatchewan.]


“I was inspired into Bt cotton farming 4 years ago [in 2013] … [trying] out 5 hectares of Bt cotton and that has made all the difference in my life. In 4 years, I have increased area of production tenfold to 50 hectares of Bt cotton. I have also managed to pay for my younger sister’s education.”
Maria Swele35-year-old woman from Limpopo province in South Africa (Source: GLP, 2017)

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It is well proven that GM crops increase household incomes and higher household incomes do contribute to higher rates of education. With no research to confirm this connection, it’s not possible to quantify this, but there is certainly ample evidence to hypothesize a relationship that would merit further research.

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Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

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