"Suggesting that we have to pick between supporting Golden Rice or mass malnourishment is a false choice. What if the billions of dollars (and now over a decade of time) spent on developing Golden Rice had instead been invested on a program supporting food sovereignty goals linked to farmer and consumer empowerment?" - See more at: http://www.iatp.org/blog/201309/missing-the-story-on-golden-rice#sthash.JBMpbL88.Y96hOuOa.dpuf
Submitted by: Transparency
Expert response from Cecilia Chi-Ham
Director Science & Technology, PIPRA
Thursday, 09/19/2013 19:41
Golden Rice is a great example of a public-private partnership working towards addressing major malnourishment deficiency that affects over half of the world’s population. Rice is a staple crop in China, India, Indonesia—it can offer as much as 80% of the caloric intake. However, rice does not naturally produce vitamin A, iron and other micronutrients. As a result of the micronutrient deficiency, children that rely on a rice-based diet suffer from impaired immune system, blindness, and even death in children. Since there are no rice varieties that naturally produce pro-vitamin A, the owners of patented biotechnologies from both universities and companies have donated their patent rights so Golden Rice can be developed (http://www.goldenrice.org/).
Aside from Golden Rice, there are other biofortification efforts to combine genetic engineering and traditional breeding to improve the nutritional content of rice, cassava, sorghum, and bananas http://www.goldenrice.org/Content5-GCGH/GCGH1.html. Recently, the global scientific community has come together to support research, including biotechnology, GM approaches, to address the major challenges of feeding the world—see video and join the petition which has been endorsed by over 5,600 scientists from around the world.