Overwhelming support for Golden Rice received
On August 8, my colleagues and I found ourselves helpless at the news that a group of people, now identified as militant activists, vandalized and destroyed one of our Golden Rice field trials in the Philippines. Our first concern at the time was the safety of all those present, and then to work to clean up the destroyed Golden Rice plants and to plan for the future.
I’m happy to report today that that work is well underway. Although we are still in consultation with regulators and local partners to understand the consequences of this setback, everyone involved is committed to continuing our research into healthier rice varieties.
It seems we’re not alone in our determination to see research on Golden Rice completed without further delay.
As the Coordinator of the Golden Rice Network and the International Rice Research Institute's (IRRI) Project Director for Golden Rice work here in the Philippines, I am extremely grateful for the outpouring of support for our work shown by so many around the world from thoughtful observers, scientists, noted writers, to the general public. Notably, a petition begun just days after the incident now has more than 5,000 signatures.
Here are links to some of the other statements and media articles we found most informative and inspiring, including from our valued partners at the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rice Research Institute:
- Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit 5: Press release
- Department of Agriculture - Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice): Official statement
- Petition: Global scientific community condemns the recent destruction of field trials of Golden Rice in the Philippines
- Philippine Daily Inquirer: 300 militants destroy GMO rice samples in DA office and DA to sue ‘paid residents, not farmers’ over destroyed GMO crops
- GMA News: Debunking Golden Rice myths: A geneticist's perspective, by Dr. Michael Purugganan
- The Philippine Star: Militants wreck GM rice test farm
- Business Mirror: Farmers uproot Golden Rice in CamSur experiment
International media and blogs:
- SciDev.net: Asian Golden Rice research to continue despite protests
- New York Times: Golden Rice: Lifesaver?
- Slate.com: The true story about who destroyed a genetically modified rice crop
- Forbes: Is it time for scientist activism against GMO fear-mongering?
We have fielded many phone calls and email messages from stakeholders and the media throughout this period, and remain available to answer all questions and organize opportunities to get to know us and our work better.
IRRI remains committed to its path of contributing to improved human health and nutrition. We recognize that many people that we want to help have diets often limited to rice and not much else; our commitment is to make the rice that people can access be more nutritious. Our resolve to complete our research on Golden Rice is strong because of its potential to help those who suffer from vitamin A deficiency.
We join you in the hope that there will be no more attempts to delay the completion of our research. Thank you again for supporting us on this journey.