Golden Rice lobbyists refused farmers’ challenge to debate

Mar. 13, 2015

The farmers group Masipag said lobbyist for Golden Rice has rejected a challenge to a public debate on the genetically modified rice.

The Allow Golden Rice Now!, a Canada-based lobby group toured the Philippines on March 3-10 to campaign for the adoption of the genetically modified Golden Rice. The said visit is part of their Asia campaign tour, in which they will also travel to Bangladesh and India to promote Golden Rice.

Dr. Chito Medina, national coordinator of Masipag, said the lobby group has left the country already.

“Allow Golden Rice Now! has left the Philippines with their tails behind their legs, and cowed by the intense resistance showed by the farmers opposing the unsafe and unwanted Golden Rice,” Medina said.

Medina said “it appears that the lobby group was afraid to face the farmers who will be among the first to be exposed to the potential harms of Golden Rice.”

Golden Rice is genetically engineered to contain beta-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A. Golden Rice is developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) supposedly to address Vitamin A deficiency in developing countries such as the Philippines. More than 400 local farmers and supporters uprooted the Golden Rice field trials in Pili, Camarines Sur in August 2013.

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