Area km2: 756,096

Population: 17,574,003

Capital: Santiago de Chile

ISO 3166: CL


Population density:
23.2 hab/km2

National flower:
Chilean bellflower (Lapageria rosea)



Chile is a significant exporter of fresh fruit, table grapes, blueberries and cherries. The most important annual crops cultivated in the country are wheat, oat, maize, rapeseed (canola) and rice. The country is well known for its viticulture and for the production of pisco. Among the production of vegetables for fresh consumption, the most relevant are lettuce, guard onion, tomato, squash and carrot, and among the species destined to the agro-industry we find maize (corn), tomato, artichoke, green beans, asparagus, green peas and bell peppers. Animal production is focused on poultry meat (chicken and turkey), beef, pork and sheep meat. Chile’s chief dairy products are matured cheese and “quesillos” (Chilean fresh cheese), followed by dry milk, fluid milk and yogurts. Chile is one of the main global seed exporters (mainly maize and vegetables), benefitting from the advantages of counter-season seed production.


 GM Crops


Does the country plant GM crops?





Area grown with GM crops

Even though there is no commercial production of transgenic crops in Chile, GM crops are planted in the country for the production of seed for export. The area sown with GM crops for seed production covers approximately 9,500 hectares. Herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant maize cover 49% of that area, while 37.5% with herbicide-tolerant canola and 13.5% is planted with herbicide-tolerant soybean.






International trade of GM crops

Chile is a key country to provide off-season GM seeds to countries in the northern hemisphere. Counter-season seed production allows faster progress in the development of new varieties that farmers require. In the last season, more than 20,000 tons of GM seeds were exported, the main destination markets being: the United States for corn and soybean seeds, Canada for canola seeds, and South Africa for corn seeds. For more information about the contribution of GM crops from Latin American countries to world trade visit the Trade section.






Are there local developments?


Some examples of local developments

• Fungus-resistant table grape (resistant to Botrytis cinerea), developed by the Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA), public funding.

• Drought-tolerant maize, developed by the Universidad de Talca, public funding.

• Salt-tolerant citrus, developed by the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC), public funding. 

• Nutritionally enhanced apples, developed by the Universidad de Chile, public funding.

• Wheat with increased grain weight, creased grain weight,




 Benefits of GM crops


The possibility to plant transgenic crops for research and development purposes has created significant income derived from the services related to these activities. Seed production for export has generated physical exports resulting in export revenues for the country. For the time being, there is no commercial production of GM crops, but it is estimated that if GM crops were approved for commercial production, Chile could become an excellent producer of transgenic sugar beet, maize and alfalfa. In addition, some global developments, such as draught-tolerant wheat and high omega-3 canola, could be of interest for the farmers in southern Chile. In terms of sown area, Chile’s main crop is wheat, and the greatest challenge that Chilean production faces is water availability. Also, omega-3-rich canola oil obtained from GM canola would allow to supply the Chilean salmon industry, thus allowing the country to become independent from the imports of such oil.





Para más información sobre los beneficios


• Chile as a key enabler country for global plant breeding, agricultural innovation, and biotechnology. Sánchez MA (2020)

• Status of market, regulation and research of genetically modified crops in Chile. Sánchez MA and León G (2016)




 Regulation of GM crops

Brief description of the regulatory framework

Chilean regulatory framework, for the time being, only allows for the possibility to authorize import and planting of GM seeds for field trials and seed production for export purposes only (Resolution 1523/2001). As per Resolution 1523/2001, the public authority in charge of the enforcement of the biosafety measures in GMOs import and planting is SAG (Agriculture and Livestock Service), under the Ministry of Agriculture. SAG conducts a mandatory risk assessment for every GMO that has no record of prior use in the country, in order to grant a planting authorization involving biosafety measures. This process is conducted on a case-by-case basis, always taking into account the singularities of the location where the GM crop will be planted.




 GM animals


Does the country produce GM animals?


For the time being, the country does not commercially produce GM animals.


Brief description of the regulatory framework for GM animals

Chile has not yet enacted a regulatory framework for the assessment and authorization of activities involving GM animals.


Are there local developments?


For the time being, there are no local developments of GM Animals in advanced stages.




 Multilateral Fora


Chile is member/party of: