Michael Purugganan at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) explains why he believes in the genetically modified (GM, genetically engineered, GE) rice called Golden Rice. He says that Golden Rice is part of the ‘answers to global malnutrition’.
After dismissing ‘Myth 1: Golden Rice is “unnatural”’ and ‘Myth 2: GMOs are unsafe and risky’, Dr Purugganan tackles ‘Myth 3: Golden Rice is a big business’. I agree with him about the first two of those. But on what he calls ‘Myth 3’ he’s on shaky ground. He says, ‘IRRI is not selling Golden Rice, and no big biotech company will make money out of it.’ Here’s IRRI’s statement about private companies and Golden Rice.
Not everybody agrees on that point. In an article, ‘Golden Rice is no solution to malnutrition,’ the not-for-profit GRAIN says, ‘IRRI is hardly a public institution. Alongside from the funding it receives from governments, IRRI’s work is funded by several private entities that are strongly in support of GMOs, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and transnational agribusiness corporations like Bayer, DuPont and Syngenta. IRRI, which orchestrated the “green revolution” of chemical rice farming in Asia, has moved increasingly into the private sphere in recent years, not only in terms of funding but also through direct partnerships with agribusiness corporations, such as with Golden Rice.’
As always, I’m banging no drum for GM or against it. What do you think about Golden Rice?