Manila, 30 June 2016 – A number of Nobel laureates have recently signed a letter calling on Greenpeace to review its position on genetically engineered ‘Golden’ rice. In response, Wilhelmina Pelegrina, Campaigner at Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said:

“Accusations that anyone is blocking genetically engineered ‘Golden’ rice are false. ‘Golden’ rice has failed as a solution and isn’t currently available for sale, even after more than 20 years of research. As admitted by the International Rice Research Institute, it has not been proven to actually address Vitamin A Deficiency. So to be clear, we are talking about something that doesn’t even exist.

“Corporations are overhyping ‘Golden’ rice to pave the way for global approval of other more profitable genetically engineered crops. This costly experiment has failed to produce results for the last 20 years and diverted attention from methods that already work. Rather than invest in this overpriced public relations exercise, we need to address malnutrition through a more diverse diet, equitable access to food and eco-agriculture.”

On alternative solutions:

“The only guaranteed solution to fix malnutrition is a diverse healthy diet. Providing people with real food based on ecological agriculture not only addresses malnutrition, but is also a scaleable solution to adapt to climate change.

“We’ve documented communities across the Philippines that continue to express concerns about using GE ‘Golden’ rice as a solution. It is irresponsible to impose GE ‘Golden’ rice as a quick remedy to people on the frontlines and who do not welcome it, particularly when there are safe and effective options already available.

“Greenpeace Philippines is already working with NGO partners and farmers in the Philippines to boost climate resiliency. There’s a real chance here for governments and the philanthropic community to support these endeavours by investing in climate-resilient ecological agriculture and empowering farmers to access a balanced and nutritious diet, rather than pouring money down the drain for ‘Golden’ rice.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:
 
1) From Washington University of St Louis’, The Source:

“As Stone and Glover point out, it is still unknown if the beta carotene in Golden Rice can even be converted to Vitamin A in the bodies of badly undernourished children. There also has been little research on how well the beta carotene in Golden Rice will hold up when stored for long periods between harvest seasons, or when cooked using traditional methods common in remote rural locations, they argue.”

2. Greenpeace International report, Twenty Years of Failure: here

3. Eco-agriculture solutions: Smart Breeding and Building Climate Resiliency: here

Contacts:

Wilhelmina Pelegrina, Agriculture Campaigner, Greenpeace Philippines: +63 917 530 8507, wilhelmina.pelegrina@greenpeace.org

Amalie Obusan, Greenpeace Philippines: +63 998 587 0336, amalie.obusan@greenpeace.org

Paul Johnston, Greenpeace International Science Unit (University of Exeter, UK): +44 7813 890492, paul.johnston@greenpeace.org

Greenpeace International Press Desk (24 hours): +31 20718 2470, pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org