Golden Rice – A Golden Opportunity or "Golden Lies"?

12 thoughts on “Golden Rice – A Golden Opportunity or "Golden Lies"?”

  1. As with any other GM food without undergoing trials over a long period of time, I have doubts. unfortunately, the linked article did not elaborate on the existing programs.
    by the way, I came here from the coursera FB link 🙂

    1. Hey Lim, thanks for commenting! Yeah it’s definitely a Catch-22 – according to the article the scientists had to overcome quite some administrative hurdles to even get it into the trial stage. Also, there was quite some uproar because there was this feeding study (where the nutrition information came from) with children from China that apparently hadn’t been told it was GM rice before they were given it…

  2. Maybe I tend to be overly simplistic, but I’m pretty confident that this was not the only solution. One of my beefs with solutions from the Gates Foundation is that they are based upon modern first world systems that are not sustainable for third world farmers without ongoing help and expensive supply chain overhauls. It’s hard to imagine that there is not one single indigenous source of Vitamin A…

    1. Good point. On the other hand, to play devil’s advocate, apparently they are intending to give away the rice (and the possibility to save seeds and regrow it) for free without strings attached – and if farmers are already farming rice they might not need that much technological assistance? Though the actual implementation mechanism is still rather unclear as of now, I guess.
      As to indigenous sources of vitamin A, from what I understand that is what the WHO is currently supporting – the diversification of farms beyond just growing staple carbs, but the risk attached to that might be too large for farmers to take on, especially if their survival hinges on a successful harvest. Then again, nobody knows whether farmers would accept the foreign golden rice either, so there are still a lot of open questions, I guess…

      1. They may be giving the rice, but can the farmers save seed and does it require non-traditional synthetic inputs? I thought about the acceptance too – people’s brains can really get stuck on things like that…

  3. Reblogged this on Science on the Land and commented:
    argylesock says… Great article! Thanks for following my blog. I’ve written about Golden Rice too, and like you I’m open to persuasion. I notice that Helen Keller International promotes several responses to Vitamin A deficiency, with Golden Rice being only one possibility. Orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes (OFSP) are another promising line of research and development.

    1. Thanks for your comment! Yes, I feel I haven’t really formed a definitive opinion yet, especially since it’s such a complex issue. And also touches on an interesting moral aspect – if companies are doing this to improve their reputation, but it’s still benefiting the target group, should we accept it or be opposed out of principle? In an ideal world I would love to see real public-private partnerships where you don’t have to have doubts and second thoughts about intentions, but how much do intentions matter as long as the outcome is positive (assuming that the intentions aren’t intrinsically linked to making the consumer worse off in the long run, e.g. if the golden rice needs specific high-priced inputs)..

  4. This is a great article. Love reading all your blog posts, because although I am no student of anything related to food (and its policies) I find the topic extremely interesting. Thanks for teaching me new things all the time. My outlook is definitely better for it.

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