On April 4, the International Rice Research Institute, the main pushers of Golden Rice and Green Revolution technologies, culprits behind the erosion of farmers’ knowledge and genetic diversity, and ushers of corporations in pursuit of full control of seeds and agriculture will be celebrating its 62nd anniversary.
High-tech yet simplistic solutions peddled by IRRI such as gene mapping, gene modification and editing (i.e CRISPR Cas 9), promotion of hybrid rice, use of Big Data, and robotics relegated our farmers into being passive recipients, effectively erasing indigenous practices of sustainable agriculture. IRRI continuously exploits genetic resources with biotechnological approaches or breeding genetic resources into a narrow diversity of ‘modern’ rice that requires heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides that poisons the environment and the people.
About 25% of IRRI’s operational funds come from philanthrocapitalists such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and private companies (Bayer, Syngenta), 25% come from Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) funds, 7% from international organizations (World Bank, Africa, and Asian Development Bank, FAO) and 33% from national governments (US, China, India, Switzerland, Germany). The supposedly public nature of the institute, in reality, is a source of cheap technical manpower for TNCs and lends credibility to TNC science. It eventually gave rise to seed industries, making seeds a business.
Sixty-two years since IRRI’s founding, almost a billion people remain undernourished (lacking calories) while two billion are malnourished (lacking essential nutrients), according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). It’s empty and dangerous propaganda of the Green Revolution, in effect, raised calorie consumption in developing countries while permitting the destruction of diversity in farmers’ fields.
- Gather the broadest support to pressure the Department of Agriculture to revoke the Golden Rice’s biosafety permits and oppose all forms of its further experimentation, use, and commercialization in the country;
- Highlight biodiversity and farmer-led food systems as apt and genuine solutions to hunger and malnutrition by popularizing farmer and community approaches to help improve health and nutrition in localities.
Activities and Action Steps
Revoke the permit! Raise your opposition to relevant public agencies and local government units!
Recently, farmers, consumer groups, former public servants, and civil society leaders have formally filed an administrative appeal calling to revoke the biosafety permits for the use, commercialization, and further experimentation of GM Yellow Rice in the country. The Department of Agriculture (DA) has yet to decide on the matter, however, field tests and other efforts to commercialize the GM Yellow Rice are already underway. With this, we call upon everyone to send letters of appeal to the DA calling to revoke these permits and to other proponents to stop pushing GM Yellow Rice in the country.
- Here is a sample letter you or your organization/network may use as a guide: tinyurl.com/SampleAppealLetter
- You may send these letters on or before April 4. We also request that you or your organization notify the Stop Golden Rice Network secretariat once accomplished.
Flood online newsfeeds!
We also encourage network members and allies to show their support by posting on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) photos with fan signs/streamers placed on farms, statements of support, creative gimmicks, and other activities.
- Pose to Oppose! #StopGoldenRice
Post your best “Pose to Oppose” photo with these calls on April 4!
Use the hashtag #StopGoldenRice
- Shutdown IRRI!
- Golden Rice, No Entry! Stop the Golden Rice Project
- Revoke the Permit! No to Golden Rice!
- Defend Our Rice! Fight for our Rights!
- Bill Gates, Hands Off Our Plates!
- Resist Agrochemical TNCs!
- Biodiversity, not Biofortification!
- Fight for Just, Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Food Systems!
Ready-to-print copy of fan signs prepared by the secretariat: https://tinyurl.com/FansignsIRRIAnniv
- We request that the contents be posted on or before April 4. Use the hashtags: #ShutdownIRRI & #StopGoldenRice
We encourage farmers’ organizations to set up “Golden Rice, No Entry!” banners along with other calls such as “Stop Golden Rice!” and “Protect farmers’ and consumers’ rights!” in their farms. The secretariat has prepared a ready-to-print banner. You may access them here: https://tinyurl.com/TarpIRRIAnniversary
Once printed and placed, you may take pictures and post them on social media with the hashtags: #GoldenRiceNoEntry and #StopGoldenRice. You may also send the pictures to us via messenger or email.
Watch Our Press Conference!
Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) with Stop Golden Rice Network, farmers from target pilot-scale deployment areas, rice breeders, civil society leaders, and aspiring public officials will be holding a press conference on April 4 to register once again the people’s opposition to Golden Rice–an unwanted, unnecessary, impractical, and possibly dangerous “solution” to Vitamin A deficiency.
Details and notes:
- The press conference will be held on April 4, 10:00 AM.
- The activity will be conducted in a blended set-up of both face-to-face and online participants.
- The press conference will be held in Iloilo, but attendees from different provinces may join via Zoom.
- Online participants may register via this link: https://forms.gle/hWzfcFMTMtNKPyXa7