Allow Golden Rice Campaign
Golden Rice is a new type of rice which consists of Beta Carotene. It is a genetically modified organism, made out genetic engineering of corn and white rice and is said to be a healthy product which would help in addressing the problems arising due to the deficiency of Vitamin A amongst children and poor people who do not have anything but a bowl of rice to live on. However, the moment one searches about it, there are many arguments by people and also by one of the biggest environmental organization, Greenpeace, of boycotting it for it has higher health risks and would contaminate other plants which are non-GMOs.
Addressing the issue and calling everything that has ever been claimed by Greenpeace as just a propaganda to stop people from using the Golden Rice, Dr. Patrick Moore, an international environmental leader and a founding member of Greenpeace visited New Delhi as a part of his campaign, “Allow Golden Rice Now”.
During the press conference, Patrick gave examples of varieties of food which have been created using the GE techniques but haven’t really been under health concerns. He also spoke that how Golden Rice has been a success in the three countries, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Philippines, where it was tested and experimented.
Commenting on the accusations by Greenpeace on Golden Rice, Dr. Patrick says, “It is sad that how Greenpeace, which once used to be an organization for people, has started to think more about humans being the culprits and the villains of the environment, to which I didn’t agree and it all was turning towards creating sensationalism, to create misinformation and emotionalism. As far as golden rice is considered, Vitamin A deficiency affects more than 35 million children globally including India. Worldwide, about 2 million children die every year from diseases related to vitamin A deficiency, and between 250,000 and 500,000 go blind. Golden rice is the obvious cure to it but because it’s a scientific product, Greenpeace and anti-GMO movement oppose it leaving no option for cultivation.”
Continuing further, He said, “We are trying to encourage public to accept Golden Rice and understand its importance in curing diseases. Helen Keller foundation is the biggest organization working towards the blind and they are in favor of golden rice, so everyone who is opposing Golden Rice- my question to them is whether they know of any other medium of addressing blindness better than the Helen Keller organization? Greenpeace is able to manipulate people because of the trust we created back in its beginning.”
Patrick Moore is hopeful about Golden Rice’s success and believes that people are opposing it because they are not much aware about its benefits. As far as the price is concerned, Golden rice would be available in the same price as of the white rice in the markets and the seeds would be given for free to the farmers who earn less than $10,000 per year. It is designed specifically for the poorest of the poor and the people living in the remote areas of India since they are the ones who are majorly living on rice as their food.
He further spoke about how through Bio-fortification, there are more developments taking place. Soon there would be rice rich in iron and zinc. He also informed everyone about how Golden rice posses zero risk and has no elements in it which can actually cause death. “Risk is of losing the young ones, the deaths which are happening on very high scale right now. It is a pure propaganda of spreading across a fear against the golden rice which is actually beneficial for people and has been experimented in three countries- Philippines, Bangladesh and Indonesia.”
For children, lack of vitamin A causes severe visual impairment and blindness, and significantly increases the risk of illness, and even death, from such common childhood infections as diarrheal diseases and measles.
For pregnant women in high-risk areas, vitamin A deficiency occurs especially during the last trimester when demand by both the unborn child and the mother is highest. The mother’s deficiency is demonstrated by the high prevalence of night blindness during this period. The impact of VAD on mother-to-child HIV transmission needs further investigation.
Through the experiments done so far, it has been proved that the rice gives Vitamin A and when it would be commercialized there would be oversight by Helen Keller foundation about everywhere it goes. At first it would be controlled and they would examine if it treats Vitamin A deficiency in children and mother and as soon as they are satisfied the reach would be made wider.