Golden Rice - Is It Fools Gold?

May 15, 2011

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has placed its blessing on the further development of Monsanto's  GM *Golden rice* in the Philippines and Bangladesh, despite opposition from numerous grassroots organizations who are trying to create a sustainable farming environment. 

From the Slowfood site: 

The farmers’ organizations are worried that golden rice, being developed to increase Vitamin A in the local diet, will do more harm than good. They are concerned that GM crops require large-scale use of fertilizers and damage soil fertility; that the health risks linked to consumption remain unclear; and that the contamination of non-GM crops is an issue occurring all around the world. But most worrying of all, they are concerned about the massive loss of local food and cultural diversity that would accompany its widespread introduction.

The premise is that this GM rice, contains Vitamin A, which would combat a widespread epidemic of deficiency, causing blindness and death. Those opposed argue that the problem is not that native rice lacks Vitamin A, but that the people are unable to afford any other food except rice. They go on to say that rebuilding the local food systems makes more long term sense. 

The Gates Foundation has a substantial investment  in Monsanto, making the entire situation take on a fake golden hue.