Lovers plant their love for Thai rice

Page - February 16, 2009
Bangkok, Thailand, 14 February 2009 -- Greenpeace supporters, artists and prominent agriculturists celebrated Valentine's Day today by planting rice at Suan Rot Fai Park at an event called "Grow Your Love for Thai Rice". 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Greenpeace is campaigning to generate greater pride for Thai rice and protect it from the threats of GMO contamination.

"We are calling on all Thais to become real lovers of Thai rice. We should be proud of our rice which is one of the best rice in the world. Greenpeace would also like to warn that GMO rice being developed and patented by multinational companies will only undermine Thai sovereignty over our own rice, contaminate the nation's food supply, and pose risks to the environment," said Natwipha Ewasakul, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

At the "Grow Your Love for Thai Rice" event, participants were given rice seedlings to be planted on a model rice field. They were also asked to pledge to become "Thai Rice Lovers" and help promote awareness of the dangers of GMO rice.  All rice planted on Valentine's Day would be transplanted to a larger organic rice field in Ratchaburi province and used as part of Greenpeace's Rice Art activity in March.

"GMO rice being developed and patented by multinational companies will only undermine Thai sovereignty over our own rice, contaminate the nation's food supply, and pose risks to the environment"

Natwipha Ewasakul

Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner

Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Activities in the event also included a round table discussion entitled "Loving Thai Rice the Right Way", performance by Crescent Moon Theatre, paintings and sketches by artists, music by bands and gift drawing by celebrities, display of Guinness World Records as well as an exhibit on Thai Rice and GMO rice.

Recently, Greenpeace unveiled the Guinness World Record certifying Thailand as the largest exporter of rice in the world. Thailand exported 8,094,000 tonnes of rice in 2007, which amounts to 27 percent of all rice traded in world markets

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

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace campaigns for GMO-free crop and food production that is grounded in the principles of sustainability, protection of biodiversity and providing all people access to safe and nutritious food. Genetic engineering is an unnecessary and unwanted technology that contaminates the environment, threatens biodiversity and poses unacceptable risks to health.