Genre Transformation: Sustained Argument for Golden Rice

For the Genre Transformation of my Sustained Argument for Golden Rice, I’ve created a leaflet that advocates for the GMO infused nutritional rice.  This has a thesis and a call for action in recruiting those interested in joining a grass roots movement.  This is intended to elicit action from our Congress and State Department in working with the foreign governments of Third World nations to adopt Golden Rice as one of the solutions to fighting hunger and malnutrition.  Please see my leaflet below:

genre-transformation-of-sustained-argument-for-golden-rice

Part I of Sustained Argument: GMO Enhanced Food Crops for Developing Nations

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) became common in the mid-1990’s where many crops and livestock to one degree or another had been genetically modified.  Most corn, soybeans and cotton are modified to be resistant to insects or tolerant of herbicide.  These GMO crops have been altered for the purposes of crop resilience, mass production, and cost concerns.

Since these GMO foods were found to be acceptable by American government regulators, they are readily available for over the counter purchase by American consumers.  However, outside of the United States, GMO products are restricted by those foreign nations’ governments.  In particular, developing nations – those that face the daily challenge of adequately feeding their people – must adopt, grow, and distribute GMO-enhanced food crops since these will feed their populace with nutritious food at a very low cost.  It is the responsibility of these nations to take the necessary steps to evaluate and independently test GMO crops to arrive at their own conclusions about their merits.  Once they have done so, I feel that they will put to rest any existing concerns of health risks for the greater good of their populace – they will only find that there are only benefits to be realized.

 

Food Insecurity

There are large swaths of nations in Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the countries surrounding and including the Indian subcontinent that are in a constant struggle to feed their citizens.  These developing nations face this food insecurity crisis in a multitude of ways.  Either from experiencing drought conditions and other extreme weather events, having unstable governments, being in a poor economic stratum, and/or being affected by climate change, the developing nations are not able to adequately feed their people.  How food security can be brought to these developing nations that critically need to improve their food growth, distribution, and affordability would be to permit nutritionally fortified GMO crops to be available to their citizens.

 

The Counter-Argument to GMO Crops in Developing Nations

The paradox in many of these Third-World countries is that their governments have taken a risk adverse stance towards GMO food crops.  Perhaps they are following the lead of the developed nations – such as many of those in Europe.  The European countries’ concern arises from their overly cautious attitude against the health and safety risks of genetically altered food crops.  This is even in the face of the World Health Organization (WHO) decree that GMOs are completely safe.  The governments in developing nations, even with the realization of the WHO’s stance, has not allowed GMO crops to be grown in their nations.  These same nations, as expected, are also largely affected by inadequate nutritional needs.  These Third-World nations cannot afford to follow the lead of the European developed nations.  Europe, and its peers, does not have a food crisis and therefore does not have the need to have to resort to creative farming measures – such as GMO crops – to feed their people.  The developing nations cannot and should not shut out GMO crops – especially the crops that have been engineered and fortified with added nutrients and vitamins.

 

For my second post on GMO Enhanced Food Crops for Developing Nations, click here

Part II of Sustained Argument: GMO Enhanced Food Crops for Developing Nations

This is the 2nd part of this series.  For the first part, click here

Golden Rice

A crop that would be beneficial and available for wide distribution in these developing nations is that of Golden Rice.  This is a genetically modified rice that has its genes spliced with a gene from corn and another from a bacterium, making it the only variety in existence to produce beta carotene, a source of vitamin-A.  This resulting golden-yellow colored, genetically engineered strain of rice is one that many of its supporters say could reduce vitamin-A deficiencies – a leading cause of blindness and death in children in the developing world.

golden-rice-field   bowl-of-golden-rice
Golden Rice Plants                         Genetically Modified Golden Rice (left)
Photos from the International Rice Research Institute

 

The Influencers on Both Sides

While it is the biotechnology companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta that are best known as the developers of the GMO engineered seeds that produces genetically food products, it is the scientific community such as chemists, biologists, and economists that are the driving advocates of GMO products – in particular, Golden Rice.  In fact, it was a select committee of 107 Nobel laureates that recently denounced the Greenpeace organization over their stance on GMO.

Greenpeace, the global environmental advocacy organization, has lined up on the opposite side of the GMO debate.  Greenpeace views GMO crops as a form of genetic pollution with concerns that GMOs can be inadvertently spread through nature and interbreed with natural organisms in contaminating non ‘Genetically Engineered’ environments and future generations in an unforeseeable and uncontrollable way.

The debate between the mainstream scientists and environmental activists has thus far forestalled further progress in implantation of Golden Rice and other GMO crops in developing nations.

 

Golden Rice Can Save Lives

Golden Rice is beneficial to the health of many destitute third-world citizens.  Vitamin A is a vital nutrient needed for good vision, growth, development, and a healthy immune system. Everybody needs vitamin A, particularly lactating mothers, pregnant women and young children. Globally, up to 250 million children and 19 million women are vitamin A deficient according to the World Health Organization.  If all children in deprived areas were given enough vitamin A, up to 2.7 million deaths could be prevented each year.

map-of-vitamin-a-deficiency
Map of global areas of vitamin-A deficiency
Photo from Genetic Literacy Project

 

Rice is a staple for about half the world’s population.  Its cost and availability makes it the most cost effective and practical method of feeding the populace of the world’s developing nations – and with vast nutritional benefits.

 

For my third and last post on GMO Enhanced Food Crops for Developing Nations, click here

Part III of Sustained Argument: GMO Enhanced Food Crops for Developing Nations

This is the 3rd and last part of this series.  For the first part, click here

What has Been Done and What Needs to Be Done?

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a rice research organization whose mission it is to reduce poverty and hunger, improve the health of rice farmers and consumers, and ensure environmental sustainability of rice farming has been working with national research agencies in the Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh and other countries to develop and conduct field trials of Golden Rice.  As stated in IRRI’s website:

Golden Rice will only be made available broadly to farmers and consumers if it is successfully developed into rice varieties suitable for Asia, approved by national regulators, and shown to improve vitamin A status in community conditions. If Golden Rice is found to be safe and efficacious, a sustainable delivery program will ensure that Golden Rice is acceptable and accessible to those most in need.

As can be evidenced in the above statement, the International Rice Research Institute has committed to fair and unbiased research and field trials.  Should these then result in success and governmental approval, only then will they propagate Golden Rice in these developing nations. Due to this even-handed approach, I believe this organization to be credible and a key contributor in the fight to effectively feed the developing nations’ population all the while with nutritious food at low cost.

The GMO field trials, once completed and therefore proven to be safe for consumption, must have these crops immediately adopted globally by the governments of all nations – especially the developing nations that would benefit the most from this new food crop.  These nation’s poverty-stricken citizens deserve to be as healthy as should be possible.

 

 

Works Cited

World Health Organization. Frequently asked questions on genetically modified foods.  http://www.who.int/foodsafety/areas_work/food-technology/faq-genetically-modified-food/en/

Achenbach, Joel. (2016, June 30).  107 Nobel laureates sign letter blasting Greenpeace over GMOs. (Washington Posthttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/06/29/more-than-100-nobel-laureates-take-on-greenpeace-over-gmo-stance/

Norton, Amy. (2012, August 15).  Genetically modified rice a good vitamin A source. (Reuters Health) http://www.reuters.com/article/us-genetically-modified-rice-idUSBRE87E0RO20120815

International Rice Research Institute.  What is the status of the Golden Rice project coordinated by IRRI? http://irri.org/golden-rice/faqs/what-is-the-status-of-the-golden-rice-project-coordinated-by-irri

Conducting Research on GMO Vs Organic – A Taste Test

To go GMO or to go Organic?

Yes, that is the very argument for us as food consumers.  So, the battle rages on…  What to do?  We will always have internet-based news articles as well as the occasional television news-clip or consumer study to help us shape our opinion.  The inputs that help to create this opinion are primarily based upon scientific studies on one hand or fear-based hyperbole on the other extreme.  In the interest of firming up my own belief as well as letting any curious readers of my blog post out there come to their own judgement in the GMO vs Organics controversy, I’ve decided to introduce a component of evaluation that is not usually discussed by the two primary opposing sides (Biotechnology organizations vs Organics industry) – and that is the taste test.  Yes, the good old fashioned blind-folded taste test of GMO vs Organic.

Continue reading “Conducting Research on GMO Vs Organic – A Taste Test”

What’s All the Hub-Bub About GMO?: A Stakeholder Analysis

While Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) have been with us for decades, there continues to be controversy about having these food products in existence today.  While its outcome is far from settled, the commonly thought of affected party seemed to be food consumers.  But a peeling back of the onion for this contentious issue will show that the ultimate stakeholders are, on one side, the behemoth biotechnology conglomerates, and on the other, the organic foods industry and consumer advocate and activist organizations.

Continue reading “What’s All the Hub-Bub About GMO?: A Stakeholder Analysis”