Road of Rice

Yunnan Ecological Agriculture Tour

Feature Story - 2004-10-08
The United Nations has declared the year 2004 “The International Year of Rice” in order to promote sustainable production of rice. China is one of the centers of origin and biodiversity of rice. It is also the largest production and consumption country of rice in the world. Rice is life to the Chinese people and our future generation.

Fish breeding in rice field

However, the future of rice in China is at the crossroad. China may become the first country to commercially grow genetically engineered (GE) rice in 2005. GE crops are life organisms and they could multiply and spread once they are released into the environment. The environmental threats and health risks posed by commercialization of GE rice are thus irreversible. Commercialization of GE rice in China is particularly worrisome as GE rice could contaminate diverse local and wild rice varieties, which are the cornerstone of sustainable agriculture and food security. Should China, the homeland of rice, take on a risky path which has no return back?

On 16 October World Food Day, Greenpeace will begin a 8-day tour in Yunnan province in China to celebrate "Biodiversity for Food Security," the theme of this year's World Food Day. Yunnan province is one of the earliest origins of rice and still claims one of the richest diversity of rice in the world. Rice farming is intrinsically linked to people's everyday life and culture. The tour will showcase diverse and sustainable rice farming in the region. Greenpeace is against the commercialization of GE rice and we believe the future of rice must take on an ecological path. There is a common ecological and cultural heritage at stake, and there are sustainable solutions of rice farming we should take.

Take the ecological path to rice for a better future. See you on the road!