Tell it to SunStar: Oppose the Golden Rice Project

FROM April 2 to 5, Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, Inc. (PNFSP) together with its partner NGOs working collectively to stop the possible commercialization of golden rice, gathered to share lessons and experiences.

Participants from India, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia and Philippines assembled on said event with clear aim--to raise present concerns, issues and challenges that confront their respective country regarding Golden Rice Project.

Since rice is a staple food, we know to some degree that bio-fortification did not bring qualitative change and development among consumers. History teaches us that science that is not intended for the benefit of mankind has brought disastrous and catastrophic effects on the human body, society, ecology and the diversity of living and non-living organisms.

For Kartini Samon of GRAIN- Indonesia, “Genetically modified rice is not intended for trade. It is developed as a feed and not food. Meaning feeds for animals like pigs and chickens. And it is alarming that the Chinese government is the one doing some ‘big’ measures to control bio fortification process in the Asia Pacific Region.

The Golden Rice Project, which aims to develop genetically modified rice was designed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and institutions from advanced countries to gain bigger profit and monopolize consumption and production of rice. Some say this is part of a “continuing policy of neo-colonialism in the form of humanitarian aid.”

Kien Dang of Vietnam noted in the forum that “nature already provided everything--vitamins, nutrients, minerals, etc.” He added: “Our ancestors were able to manage their community by saving seeds, and its part of our rich natural heritage. This seed banking is an art that must be enhanced. So, protecting rice is like protecting the future of our next generations.”

The Labor Resource Center of Bangladesh, through a research paper, further elaborated that the “green revolution” is a monster killing our own people.

“Farmers became landless due to big inputs needed to sustain modified crops,” it added, noting that the “contaminated land and ecosystem of Bangladesh must be an example for India and Philippines on resisting genetically modified seeds. Golden rice will kill the traditional way of cropping especially the naturally fortified Vitamin A... It is a threat to our national and international food security.”

For Nookaraju Sundru of India, the “seed of change must grow in our heart and soul. Modifying the natural state and order of our ecosystem is a grave sin to the Creator and to the entire race of Man. We must value indigenous and native source of Vitamin A. We must value this little seed of rice cause by its power. Our civilization survived after many years of ravishing wars in the past. This is a long battle that everyone must engage!”

Long live international solidarity.--Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, Inc.