August 8 will mark the 6th year since the historic Golden Rice uprooting by more than 400 farmers in the Bicol region in the Philippines in 2013. The action signified the intense protest of farmers and consumers against the genetically modified rice. Golden Rice, like other genetically modified crops, can greatly affect our health, environment and our local food systems that is vital to our culture and identity.
However, Golden Rice is again being field tested in the Philippines and Bangladesh. If the regulatory hurdles are cleared, Golden Rice might already make its way to commercialization and distribution in the local markets.
The Stop Golden Rice Network would like to ask for your help and solidarity in calling the halt of the field trials and eventual commercialization of Golden Rice in the Philippines and Bangladesh. Write the proponents on or before August 8 and show them the overwhelming global resistance against Golden Rice. You can use the letter shared below, and feel free to use your own logo or letterhead and add on your own message and statement.
DR. PARTHA S BISWAS
Golden Rice Project Leader
Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI)
Joyebpur, Gazipur-1701, Bangladesh
DR. REYNANTE ORDONIO
Healthier Rice Project Leader
Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz, 3119 Nueva Ecija
Dear Dr. Biswas and Dr. Ordonio,
We are writing to call on your good office to immediately halt the ongoing Golden Rice field trials and its eventual commercialization to the Philippines and Bangladesh.
We support the concerns of our fellow farmers and consumers in these countries, particularly with the safety and long-term impacts of the genetically modified rice. We understand that until now, no credible and independent studies have been made to establish the safety of the Golden Rice to the peoples’ health and the environment. On the contrary, studies have shown that Golden Rice can affect rice productivity which will have a far-reaching impact to rice diversity and rice security .
We believe that Golden Rice is inherently flawed and an unnecessary technology that will possibly cause more harm than solution to malnutrition. The latest study from India confirms that not only is the beta-carotene content in the Golden Rice negligible, but in fact, degrades so fast that farmers need to “vacuum-pack” the unmilled rice just to extend the beta-carotene shelf-life . Even the US Dept. of Agriculture has deemed that the beta-carotene in Golden is not high enough to warrant a label as a nutritional product.
We do recognize however, that there is a need to address hunger and malnutrition in Asia and around the world. The solution is not Golden Rice, nor other biofortified food crops, but through 1) promoting diversified food production and diet to include the myriad sources of beta-carotene and 2) supporting the traditional and small farmers who remain the main producers and protectors of these diverse source of food. There are existing successful cases of reducing malnutrition incidences through traditional farming and food systems that further shows that Golden Rice is pointless .
We appeal that you consider the long-term effects of Golden Rice to the present and future of our women and children, our environment and rice biodiversity, our small-scale farmers and our consumers. The welfare and interest of these sectors should be respected and ensured.
- Bollinedi, H., Prabhu, K. V., Singh, N. K., Mishra, S., Khurana, J. P., & Singh, A. K. (2017). Molecular and Functional Characterization of GR2-R1 Event Based Backcross Derived Lines of Golden Rice in the Genetic Background of a Mega Rice Variety Swarna. PloS one, 12(1), e0169600.
- Bollineni, Haritha & Dhakane-Lad, Jyoti & Krishnan, S & Bhowmick, Prolay & Vinod Prabhu, Kumble & Singh, Nagendra & Singh, Ashok. (2019). Kinetics of β-carotene degradation under different storage conditions in transgenic Golden Rice® lines. Food Chemistry. 278. 773-779. 10.1016/j.foodchem.2018.11.121.
- Food Sovereignty Alliance India and Catholic Health Association of India, “Exploring the potential of diversified traditional food systems to contribute to a healthy diet”, 2018, https://foodsovereigntyalliance.files.wordpress. com/2018/12/Report-1.pdf