In many countries, agricultural policies encourage and support different kinds of crop production, including conventional and organic--based farming, and farmers are able to grow the crops of their choice.
Farmers who produce organically grown crops currently co-exist with farmers who grow genetically modified crops and crops grown in conventional ways. ‘Co-existence’ is the practice of growing different kinds of crops, crops grown in different ways, or crops for different customers in the same area, without becoming mixed and possibly reducing economic value. Golden Rice could likewise co-exist with other crops, including other types of rice and rice grown in other ways such as in organic agriculture.
Golden Rice is unlikely to impact organic agriculture through cross-pollination (outcrossing, or gene flow) for reasons that apply to all cultivated rice.
• Studies show that cross-pollination in rice is rare if plants are separated by a short distance of a few feet or meters.
• Studies also show that cross-pollination is uncommon unless the rice plants are flowering at the same time.
• Rice pollen is normally viable for only a few minutes after flowering.
• This means that organically-grown rice won’t usually cross-pollinate naturally with another cultivated rice variety unless they are growing close together and flower at the same time.
In order to further minimize the possible accidental mixing of Golden Rice with other rice varieties, our project will work with rice producers in areas where Golden Rice is to be grown to develop any necessary guidelines for cultivation, harvest, transport, storage and processing of rice.
For more, see our Golden Rice FAQ, resources, and links
• Rong, J. B. Lu, Z. Song, J. Su, A. Snow, X. Zhang, S. Sun, R. Chen, and F. Wang. 2007. Dramatic reduction of crop-to-crop gene flow within a short distance from transgenic rice fields. New Phytologist 173:346-353.