Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
University of Illinois
Golden Rice is genetically modified to provide beta-carotene in the rice grain and it could potentially address widespread Vitamin A deficiency in poor countries where rice is a staple. Political opponents have viewed Golden Rice as representing the interests of multi-nationals and as inherently unsafe for consumption. Progress has been made towards adapting this crop to tropical-rice growing environments, but it has not yet been introduced into farmer’s fields. Efficacy and safety have not yet been fully tested. Substantial work remains to target and deliver this intervention to Vitamin A-deficient populations, and to overcome remaining resistance to this technology. The political response to the on-going development of Golden Rice is reviewed to draw lessons for biofortification efforts that employ modern biotechnology. Within Asian countries, successful development and delivery will require policy dialogue among agriculturalists, health specialists, and advocates for the poor.
Key words: Rice, biotechnology, Vitamin A deficiency.