Golden Rice (GR) is a rice genetically engineered to produce beta carotene. Syngenta acquired patent rights over GR 1 and then developed GR 2 itself. A Golden Rice Network was subsequently set up, based at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) which has been actively involved in further developing and pushing GR. The public relations pitch in promoting GR is that it will supposedly cure Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) which can lead to blindness as well as compromise the immune system significantly. However, its proponents fail to consider the real causes of VAD namely, poverty and the loss of biodiversity which is essential for a healthy diet for the poor especially. They also fail to the considerable risks to health and the environment attached to genetically engineered crops/food. GR is a grave threat to the health of rice-eating Asians and our traditional and farmer-bred rice varieties. It is nothing more than a Trojan Horse ploy by agribusiness corporations and IRRI to get public approval of genetically engineered crops/food.
GR is being field tested in Bangladesh and the Philippines and the most recent news is that it will be tested in Pakistan as well. We have to stop this. Rice is Life in Asia. If any of these countries approves the commercial growing of Golden Rice, it will spread throughout Asia and even to other parts of the world either via cultivation or export. So although Golden Rice may not be an immediate threat in your country, we need to build SOLIDARITY across the globe against Golden Rice as it represents GE rice in general. GR is a serious threat to our food safety and food sovereignty.
Unfortunately IRRI has received millions of dollars in donation from the likes of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Helen Keller Foundation to develop Golden Rice. PAN AP has just sent a letter to the Helen Keller International putting forward our concerns on Golden Rice as civil society and calling for the withdrawal of support to IRRI for the development of GR.
Please join us in signing on to this letter to stop the development of Golden Rice.
Although the letter has just been sent to Helen Keller International with over 100 signatories, other organisations are welcomed to sign on until the end of November 2011. Just signify your agreement to be cited as a signatory and give us your organization’s name and country – please email firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 November 2011. Your organisation's name will be added to the list in the letter on our website.
Let us unite to stop the promotion of genetically engineered crops and food in our world.
SAVE OUR RICE!