Crumb Trail
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Monday, September 01, 2003

Cornell News: Golden Rice Knowledge:

"In the most recent National Nutrition Survey (1998) conducted in The Philippines, about 8.2 percent of children (aged 6 months to 5 years) and about 7.1 percent of pregnant women were Vitamin A-deficient. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) like golden rice as well as diets rich in vitamin A can help change these sobering statistics, but few science issues in recent years have elicited such polarized public reaction as biotechnology and its applications, says Chong. Indeed, even the Rockefeller Foundation, which funded the development of golden rice, has warned that the benefits of the transgenic crop have been exaggerated.

Since rice is a staple food in the Philippines, Chong sought to understand why farmers might resist growing it. A Philippines-based anti-biotechnology group, Masipag, he notes, has made claims that Filipino farmers do not want to grow genetically modified crops. 'I found that wasn't true. I found there was a huge disconnect between the anti-GMO groups and what the farmers are actually saying,' says Chong. 'Most of the farmers know next to nothing about agricultural technology. There is a huge disparity from what the anti-GMO groups are saying and what the farmers really have said in my research.' He also explains that not a single barrio leader mentioned anti-biotechnology groups as a trusted agricultural information source."

See an earlier post for more about the destructive effects of NGOs manipulating poor people to advance their political goals. It may be that the NGOs are simply ignorant and that they can reform themselves once they understand the negative effects they have on people. But it is hard to believe that they could be so uninformed and that suggests some troubling ethical problems.

posted by back40 | 9/01/2003 12:53:00 PM


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