Our Land, Our Food, Our Rice!
Reject Golden Rice!
Nine years ago, more than 400 farmers, consumers, and development workers decisively uprooted the third and secret Golden Rice field trial in the Regional Field Unit of the Department of Agriculture in the Bicol region. The protest action reverberated across the globe, as it crystallized the peoples’ resistance and opposition against the corporate-driven Golden Rice. It effectively halted the planned commercialization in 2013, until a new application was submitted in 2017.
Fast forward to 2022, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Rice Research Institute announced the approval of Golden Rice’s application for varietal registration under the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC). Moreover, last July 2021, the Philippine Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) announced that a biosafety permit for propagating the Golden Rice has been issued.
Golden Rice–a genetically modified crop branded by corporations as a solution to Vitamin A deficiency in the country–has long been opposed based on its inability to actually give an adequate amount of Vitamin A due to its negligible beta-carotene content, lack of independent, long-term, and comprehensive safety tests, and the possibility of irreversibly contaminating local varieties of rice which may lead to the extinction of environmentally apt and naturally resilient traditional and farmer-bred rice varieties thus will also negatively affect the farmers’ already unlivable income thru low crop yield.
Despite farmers, concerned consumers, and civil society organizations not only in Bicol but all throughout the decade-long world resistance against Golden Rice and the further corporate capture of agriculture, there is almost nothing left that will hinder its full-scale implementation. Pilot-scale deployment plans in different provinces including Catanduanes in the Bicol region are set to be implemented in the next few months.
Target households and communities in one of the pilot deployment sites of Golden Rice in the Bicol region told MASIPAG that they have yet to be comprehensively informed by the government about Golden Rice. According to one of its citizens, they were just told by government representatives that Golden Rice will be given for free- health insurance and safety nets were not mentioned in the said consultation, making the government and other implementing bodies of this dubious rice unaccountable should there be negative effects of Golden Rice when consumed.
The campaign “our land, our food, our rice! reject golden rice” aims to strengthen the movement in communities where golden rice will be piloted through the assertion in all forms and platforms of food sovereignty–the power of the people to determine and lead their own food systems. this campaign urges the rejection of golden rice at different levels–by the farmers, local government, and national government.
WE STAND TO THE assertion that the problem of malnutrition that the golden rice promises to solve can only be answered by transforming agriculture that places farmers at the center of it–promoting organic and sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture that is anchored in the principles of farmer-led agroecology ultimately achieving diverse, accessible, safe, adequate, and nutritious food for all.