Are private companies involved in the Golden Rice project?

The Golden Rice work coordinated by IRRI is led by public sector organizations and does not receive any financial support from private companies.

Golden Rice was invented by Professor Ingo Potrykus, then of the Institute for Plant Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and Professor Peter Beyer of the University of Freiburg, Germany. Their desire to donate Golden Rice as a gift to resource-poor farmers in developing countries led them to establish a public-private partnership with Syngenta to help further develop Golden Rice.

Scientists at Syngenta carried out additional laboratory, greenhouse, and field research to help raise the beta carotene levels in Golden Rice. In 2005, they developed a new version of Golden Rice that produces substantially more beta carotene than the 1999 prototype.

Syngenta also arranged royalty-free access to the patents and intellectual property, held by several biotechnology companies, for a number of key technologies used in Golden Rice. This allows IRRI and others to develop Golden Rice on a non-for-profit basis.

According to the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board:

The package contained proprietary technologies belonging not only to Syngenta but also to Bayer AG, Monsanto Co, Orynova BV, and Zeneca Mogen BV. These companies provided access to the required technologies free of charge, for humanitarian purposes.

None of the companies listed above are involved in carrying out the research and development activities of IRRI or its partners in Golden Rice, and none of them will receive any royalty or payment from the marketing or selling of Golden Rice varieties developed by IRRI.

Read Syngenta’s position on Golden Rice.