Latest Stories

Farmers, eco warriors vow to block ‘Golden Rice’


Farmer and environment groups Tuesday vowed to do everything to stop the release of genetically modified “Golden Rice” to farms and markets in the country owing to health and environmental concerns.

In a statement, Jaime Tadeo, spokesperson of the National Rice Farmers Council, accused producers and developers of Golden Rice of “sugarcoating” the Vitamin A-enriched product to give “a humanitarian face” to GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.

“Golden Rice has long been rejected by Filipinos and other parts of the world. Its creators are using this to improve their image and we know they are waging a major public relations campaign to win the hearts of Filipinos and get this GMO rice in our food on the table,” he said.

Research and development of Golden Rice began in 1992 with the prototype released eight years later by Syngenta, the third largest seed company and biggest agrochemical company in the world, according to environment watchdog Greenpeace.

The first generation Golden Rice had low concentrations of beta carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A, and would have required 12 times its normal consumption to give consumers the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A, a 2001 Greenpeace study showed.

In 2005, the Golden Rice project, supported by companies like Syngenta which owned patents on genes and processes involved in the production of Golden Rice, came out with the second-generation Golden Rice (GR 2) that supposedly had more beta carotene.

The second generation variety is being jointly tested by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in several locations around the Philippines, Greenpeace said.

“I am warning my fellow farmers. Once the government approves Golden Rice it will undoubtedly mix with our seeds and we will not be able to claim our farms as being truly organic. What will happen to our thrust of exporting specialty or organic rice to other countries,” Tadeo said.

The farmers’ group appealed to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala not to allow the entry or release of GMOs in the Philippines, particularly Golden Rice, “because it will not only cost the country its emerging niche in rice exports but also endanger its biodiversity and pose unknown risks to human health.”

“We don’t see any benefits from allowing GMOs into the country. It will not increase our yield which would improve our incomes. Even the Vitamin A component of Golden Rice cannot be ascertained by its sponsors,” said Tadeo.

Greenpeace noted that IRRI, which is leading the development of Golden Rice, admitted in a statement dated Feb. 26 and posted on its website that “it has not yet been determined whether daily consumption of Golden Rice does improve the Vitamin A status of people who are Vitamin A deficient and could therefore reduce related conditions such as night blindness.”

“If Golden Rice is approved by national regulators, Helen Keller International and our university partners will conduct a controlled community study to ascertain if eating Golden Rice every day improves one’s Vitamin A status,” it said.

“Syngenta may not be after large profits in releasing Golden Rice per se. They see this as a big opportunity to increase GMO brownie points by presenting this as a humanitarian program for the Philippines,” Tadeo said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: environment , farming , GMO , Golden rice , International Rice Research Institute , IRRI , Jaime Tadeo , National Rice Farmers Council , Philippine Rice Research Institute , PhilRice

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct


  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • 14 killed in car bombing in Homs
  • 57-nation group plays key Ukraine monitoring role
  • French President Hollande’s top aide resigns
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • Marketplace