The People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) attended the Stop Golden Rice Network (SGRN) International Conference and series of activities in the Philippines from 2-5 April 2018. The activity was spearheaded by the SGRN, a network of farmers, scientists and consumers’ from more than 30 organisations in Asia unifying and collaborating against the onslaught of corporate control in food and agriculture.
The international conference aimed to strengthen a global campaign against corporate control of agriculture, GMO commercialisation and Golden Rice distribution in Asia which was embodied in the conference call, “Amplify Global Call to End Corporate Control over Agriculture! Stop Golden Rice! Defend Farmers’ Rights and Food Sovereignty!”
In a unity statement, the SGRN said that Golden Rice is not a solution to the complex social problem of malnutrition. “Nutritionally superior, safe, diverse, and accessible beta carotene foods are abundant and renders Golden Rice unnecessary and billions of investments in GMOs nonsensical. We will oppose and expose all forms of corporate deception and humanitarian myths promoted by Golden Rice proponents and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).”, it says.
Golden Rice promotion in Bangladesh, Philippines and Indonesia by governments is meant to ensure corporate colonisation of our food systems in the name of corporate power and profit, states SGRN. There is a glaring lack of genuine public participation and the complementation of scientific findings that scrutinised its questionable viability and legitimacy were left out. Social and health concerns including lack of independent and thorough safety studies, monitoring and accountability mechanisms were not tackled nor addressed. SGRN also said that evidences on the use of Golden Rice point to genetic contamination which resulted to stunted growth, low yield and irrevocable adulteration of traditional rice lands which means potential erosion of the diversity of our rice resources overtime.
Today, less development partnerships go to small farm-holding agricultural practices despite a stand-alone goal on addressing hunger. Financing for development has also been increasingly welcoming to private sector despite its historical performance in adulterating traditional food systems, promoting mono-cropping and controlling ownership of seeds.
A mobilisation participated in by more than 500 Filipino farmers, scientists, consumers, academe, women and children including participants from Asia as well as New Zealand and Australia that converged in front of the Department of Agriculture to call on the government to immediately scrap the application for open field test and direct use of Golden Rice in the Philippines was held in 4 April.
PCFS is a founding member of the SGRN.