|Vitamin A rice: a grand illusion?|
Vitamin A rice – a genetically engineered rice producing pro-vitamin A – is being offered to the Third World as a remedy for widespread Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD). But there are fundamental problems: An adult would need to eat 9 kg of cooked rice a day for the required intake of vitamin A (whereas eating just two carrots would be enough). It is an open question whether transgenic rice will work in practice, and nothing is known about long-term threats to ecosystems and human health. Furthermore, there are many patents on Vitamin A rice.
“The problem is that the transgenic rice will not remove VAD. It is a technology that fails in its promise, because there are no silver bullet solutions to such complex problems” - Dr. Vandana Shiva.
The MAIN point is, however, that there are many better, cheaper and already proven solutions. The root cause of VAD and many other diseases is a totally unbalanced diet: rice, rice and nothing but rice. So changing dietary habits is essential. Small gardens with green leafy vegetables and with fruits, leaves from wild plants, dried mango slices, dried Baobab leaves, sweet potatoes... Even the World Bank has admitted that rediscovering and using local plants and conserving vitamin A rich fruit and vegetables has dramatically reduced the number of VAD threatened children in inexpensive and efficient ways.
Foe.org: Golden Rice and Vitamin A Deficiency - List of links and quotes warning against the over-simplistic nature of the arguments that Vitamin A rice and Genetic Engineering rely.
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