GE Golden Rice – Necessary Evil ?
Near to my home in Bangalore , there is a sign board which reads-
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
How true ?.. Sometime back i had written about Rice as a staple diet and its place in diabetes .
Most people hate the term GMO, Genetically Modified Food etc. so how do companies like Syngenta, Monsanto, DuPont, Bayer etc.. manage to spread the “good word” around – do a “white coat ” marketing on some websites likeforbes India. Make the crowd believe – there is decades of genuine research to support their claims that GE food is good /safe ! Give the researcher a World Food Prize – to make it all authentic and genuine !
‘Golden’ rice is genetically engineered (GE) rice variety that has been developed to produce pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene). It has been hyped as a solution to vitamin A deficiency (VAD), which can lead to blindness. However, Golden Rice is deficient in many other micro-nutrients such as iron and zinc, essential for good health. The basic nutrient rice is supposed to provide is not vitamin A but Iron ,Magnesium , Zinc etc.
A single food cannot meet the need of human nutrition. A well balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and grains is the NEED. Not a quick fix like Golden Rice.GE ‘Golden’ rice is a environmental hazard, poses risks to human health, and could compromise food, nutrition and financial security of a country.
Rice can become contaminated with GE rice, even just from field trials. GE rice contamination will affect traditional, conventional and organic rice farmers because they will lose their markets, especially exports, which would negatively impact countries like India , Vietnam, Philippines etc.
Despite all the hype surrounding GE ‘Golden’ rice, it still remains unproven whether daily consumption of GE ‘Golden’ rice would actually improve the vitamin A status of people who are deficient ! On the contrary, it might actually be the real source of Cancer and Eczema related to food allergies and more ! The danger of manipulating natures balance might not be that easy to comprehend or understand.
The millions of dollars invested in GE ‘Golden’ rice would have been better spent on VAD solutions that are already available and effective such as food supplements, food fortification and home gardening. The need is to create sustainable systems that provide food security and diversity in a way that is empowering people, protects biodiversity, and ensures a long-lasting solution to VAD and malnutrition.
We need more activists like Vandana Shiva who oppose genetic engineering but also scorn the technological Green revolution, which according to many estimates saved more than a billion lives.