TAGBILARAN CITY – Militant farmers belonging to Hugpong sa Mag-uumang Bol-anon (HUMABOL), an affiliate of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), have opposed to the genetically modified “Golden Rice.” Danilo Olayvar, HUMABOL chair, told a radio program recently that based on research “Golden Rice” appeared harmful to human and to plants.
He said that instead of Department of Agriculture’s endorsing the said “Golden Rice” to farmers, it would be better for the government to encourage the planting of local varieties of root crops, fruits and vegetables which are rich in Vitamin A. These local varieties of crops are more sustainable than the genetically-modified “Golden Rice,” he said. “Golden Rice” is promoted since this “Golden Rice” contains Vitamin A, he added. “Amo gyud nang batukan,” (We will oppose it), he said. And this “Golden Rice,” if commercially viable, could also spur grain price changes, if not price increment, in the locality because this is business.
The government appeared not looking for the benefit of the consumers but to the businesses, Olayvar said in vernacular. It was not immediately known if the “Golden Rice” has already penetrated discreetly in Bohol. Earlier, the provincial government through the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has enacted an ordinance banning the entry and field testing of genetically-modified-organism (GMO) plants or seeds. Monitoring and vigilance activities had been conducted. But these efforts have been allegedly abandoned for unknown reason.
According to the research, “The (golden) rice also displays an enhanced iron content and in the grain, the presence of such enhanced levels of beta carotene results in a yellow tint that has prompted the name of “Golden Rice.” (rvo)