Farmers of the Philippines Say ‘No Way’ to GMO Rice
"There are other fixes for vitamin A deficiency
We all know that biotech likes to spew lies about their products like a fire hydrant left on to overflow into the street. Well talk about genetically modified Golden Rice is no different. Fortunately, farmers from the Philippines are rejecting this environmentally irresponsible crop because, “they have plenty of other solutions for Vitamin A deficiency.”
Golden Rice has gotten a lot of hype. Biotech tries to sell it as a miracle cure for blindness due to a genetically altered augmentation of beta-carotene (Vitamin A) within the plant. It is often used as a Trojan Horse to force GM crops into countries that have said very clearly, “NO GMOs!”
The great myth of Golden Rice being some kind of savior for the planet has already been exposed. The original Golden Rice called “GR 1,” supported through funds by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, had such a meager amount of vitamin A in it that you would have to eat twelve times the normal daily intake to get the nutritionally necessary amount to do anything about blindness or Vitamin A deficiency of any kind.
It has also been explained that people who are starving won’t get ‘better’ nutrition from just eating a bowl of GM rice. They have to have enough fats in their diet as well in order to be able to assimilate the vitamins.
Golden Rice is really just a hoax. It poses risks to human health, and definitely compromises the non-GM crops of any country who allows it to be grown within its borders.
Michael Hansen, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist with Consumers Union and thoroughly debunks Golden rice myths. Hansen offered key testimony at a 2011 hearing in the Philippines before their parliament, wherein he challenged the head of PhilRice GR project to present any data on the β-carotene levels in the GR Indica varieties, but the only data offered were from GR2.
Also, Dr. Gerard Barry, head of IIRI’s Golden Rice Project leader, who came to IRRI in 2003 after having worked for Monsanto for 20 years (1983-2003), was in the room. Hansen says that Monsanto’s guy didn’t talk much.
Now, Filipino farmers and activist groups are outraged that biotech would try to plant GM crops via Golden Rice into their country. In response to a campaign waged by biotech called Allow Golden Rice Now!, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) chairperson and RESIST Agrochem TNCs! Convenor Rafael ‘Ka Paeng’ Mariano said:
“We reiterate the opposition of Filipino farmers to genetically modified (GM) crops and we will register our resistance against Golden Rice and other GM crops.”
The “Allow Golden Rice Now!” campaign is led by Dr. Patrick Moore, and aims to convince government officials and the Filipino people to accept Golden Rice as means to solve Vitamin A deficiency, or VAD. They want everyone to believe that the only way to solve the problem is by planting GM rice. Filipino farmers aren’t buying his byline though.
On August 8, 2013, more than 400 farmers uprooted the Golden Rice field trials at the experimental lot of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit 5 in Pili, Camarines Sur. Moore demonized this action, saying that the protesters were committing a crime against humanity by campaigning against the commercialization of Golden Rice.
Filipino farmers think that the commercialization of Golden Rice is abhorrent. In fact, they side predominantly with Ka Bert Autor, coordinator of Sararong Inisyatiba nin Kahinwanmaan na Wasakon ang Agrokemikals na Lasong-GMO (SIKWAL-GMO) and secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bikol (KMB). He made it clear that the uprooting of Golden Rice trials in Bicol was a principled action to protect the health, life, and quality of the environment, not only for farmers, but for Filipinos:
“Those who uprooted the Golden Rice field trials are landless farmers and rural poor sectors from far-flung provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, and Sorsogon. As rice producers and consumers, they have every right to protest against the ill-effects of Golden Rice.”
We stand with Filipino farmers against biotech’s Golden Rice. Its reputation has already tarnished.
You can view an 18-minute documentary produced by Greenpeace International on the subject here.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.