Rice Love on Valentine’s

Feature story - February 14, 2009
Hundreds turned up to plant rice on Valentine's day at a Greenpeace event designed to call on Thais to show real love for their own rice.

Couples plant rice seedlings on a model rice field. Greenpeace supporters, artists and prominent agriculturists celebrated Valetine's Day today by plating rice seedlings at Suan Rod Fai Park at an event called "Grow Your Love for Thai Rice". Greenpeace is campaigning to protect Thai rice against GMO contamination.

At the "Grow Your Love for Thai Rice" event to celebrate Valetine's Day, rice seedlings are prepared to be planted on a model rice field at Suan Rod Fai Park at an event called "Grow Your Love for Thai Rice". Greenpeace is campaigning to protect Thai rice against GMO contamination.

Kids plant rice seedlings on a model rice field. Greenpeace supporters, artists and prominent agriculturists celebrated Valetine's Day today by plating rice seedlings at Suan Rod Fai Park at an event called "Grow Your Love for Thai Rice". Greenpeace is campaigning to protect Thai rice against GMO contamination.

Jarunthada Karnasuta, the permanent secretary of the MInistry of Agriculture, presided over the opening ceremonies by planting the first organic rice seedling at a model rice farm.Greenpeace supporters, artists and prominent agriculturists celebrated Valetine's Day today by plating rice seedlings at Suan Rod Fai Park at an event called "Grow Your Love for Thai Rice". Greenpeace is campaigning to protect Thai rice against GMO contamination.Greenpeace supporters, artists and prominent agriculturists celebrated Valetine's Day today by plating rice seedlings at Suan Rod Fai Park at an event called "Grow Your Love for Thai Rice". Greenpeace is campaigning to protect Thai rice against GMO contamination.

Students plant rice in a demonstration field. Greenpeace supporters, artists and prominent agriculturists celebrated Valetine's Day today by plating rice seedlings at Suan Rod Fai Park at an event called "Grow Your Love for Thai Rice". Greenpeace is campaigning to protect Thai rice against GMO contamination.

"At a time of economic hardships, we all should look back at the very foundation of our country. We should show better appreciation for our rice and our own ways of sustainable farming. Thailand does not need GMOs," said  Jarunthada Karnasutha, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, who presided over the opening ceremony of "Grow Your Love for Thai Rice" event.  

Normally used for weekend picnics and exercise, Greenpeace turned Suan Rot Fai into a large rice landscape with paintings, photo exhibits, theatres, musical performances and a demonstration rice field -- the highlight of the event -- where lovers, families and friends came in droves to plant rice.

Thailand is the World Record Holder for exporting the largest amount of rice but very few in the urban centres have ever experienced planting rice. So as bands render tunes with kaen (a wind instrument) and sor (traditional violin) from the rice-growing countryside, people pledged to help promote Thai rice and reject GMO rice.

Thailand has long been a target of multi-national agro-chemical companies trying to corner the Kingdom's food production.  More than 95 percent of all GMO crops, along with the processes of creating them, are owned and patented by less than 10 multinational companies.

"To protect our interests as the world's largest exporter of rice, Greenpeace is calling upon the government of Thailand to ban GMO crops, especially GMO rice experiments. GMOs have never been proven safe for human consumption and impacts on the environment can be irreversible, " added Natwipha

Read the full press release here.

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