Op­pose the Golden Rice Project

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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.

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