The worlds farmers have passed a remarkable milestone: Weve just planted the worlds 5-billionth acre of genetically modified crops.

We dont know exactly where it happened or even on what day it occurred. But we know that it must have taken place this spring, probably in the northern hemisphere, according to statistics maintained by the Global Farmer Network (formerly Truth About Trade & Technology), which has tracked the global planting and harvesting of these remarkable crops for years.

It possibly happened in Indiaand theres even a tiny chance that it transpired on my small farm at Hanumangarh in the state of Rajasthan, where I grow GM cotton as well as conventional varieties of wheat, mustard, beans, and some vegetables.

I am able to say that GM crops have transformed my life for the better. The world needs more of themand Indias government should approve new kinds so that farmers and consumers alike can enjoy the enormous benefits.

Before GM cotton, we sprayed our fields almost every alternative day with pesticides, and still we could barely control the bollworms. They ravaged our crops. Lucky for me, my farm became a testing ground for GM cotton in 2003, and I saw firsthand how these plants possessed a natural ability to fend off pests. I was convinced this was going to be a game changer for farmers, and I became one of Indias first farmers to adopt this technology.

Thanks to GM cotton, I was able to give a good education to my two children. I also renovated my house for the first time in 20 years. My neighbor, who farms the same amount of land, was a late adopter. Theres a big difference in our living standards.

When Indian farmers saw the benefits of GM technology, they were very quick to adopt these seeds. Today, 95 percent of all the cotton grown in India is GMand last year, India became the worlds leading grower of cotton, slipping ahead of China and staying well in front of the United States, which ranks a distant third.

Despite all of this success, we havent kept up with the rest of the world. In 2010, our government banned the commercialization of GM brinjal, a staple crop. (Americans call it eggplant). This is a shame, because the successful cultivation of brinjal requires pesticide sprays every three or four days. Doing for brinjal what weve already done for cotton would make everything better: Farmers would save money and improve their health, consumers would stop worrying about residue, and helpful insects would thrive.

The problem isnt sciencewe know how to make GM brinjalbut rather politics, because our political leaders have refused to let us have access to the basic technologies that farmers in many other countries take for granted.

India must embrace all forms of GM agriculture because we need to grow more food on less land. We have more than 1.2 billion peoplenearly one in every five on earthbut only about 2.5 percent of the planets land and water resources.

Weve replaced the bullock cart with the automobile, the telegraph wire with the cell phone, and folk medicine with antibiotics. Now we need to upgrade primitive approaches to farming with 21st-century methods that meet the challenges of population growth as well as economic and environmental sustainability.

GM crops not only can help us grow more food, they can help us grow better food. Well fight malnutrition as we develop GM crops that are fortified with additional vitamins and minerals. Well also gain a shield against climate change as we improve drought and flood tolerances.

All we need is the political will to let our scientific know-how take advantage of this proven technology.

In 28 countries over the last two decades, theyve reaped more than $150 billion in benefits, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), which released its 20th annual report last month.

Wherever farmers have had a choice, theyve jumped at the chance to grow GM crops. We need GM technology not only to help eliminate hunger from this world, but also as we strive for healthy and well-nourished future generations.

The more were allowed to plant them, the better well do, as we move in to the future and hit new billion-marker milestones.