Int’l rural peoples mov’t calls to heighten efforts vs Golden Rice

By The Peoples’ Coalition for Food Sovereignty (PR)
www.nordis.net

The Peoples’ Coalition for Food Sovereignty (PCFS), a global network of food sovereignty advocates and various grassroots groups of small food producers, expressed its support to the Filipino farmers’ protest against the Golden Rice field trials during yesterday’s public consultation by the International Rice Research Institute in San Mateo, Isabela.

 Led by DAGAMI, the provincial chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP; Peasant Movement of the Philippines), the farmers criticized the government’s agriculture department for its lack of transparency and its skirting over farmers’ informed consent in conducting yet another field trial for Golden Rice. KMP is a member organization of PCFS.

The local farmer groups also said Filipino farmers are “already suffering from severely eroded incomes due to the skyrocketing costs of farm inputs” and that introduction of another capital-intensive GM crop and seed monopoly would “give the final blow to [their] livelihoods.”

“In complete disregard of farmers’ rights, Golden Rice field trials are being rushed by Syngenta-ChemChina in the Philippines and Bangladesh to hasten its plot for seed monopoly under the cloak of ‘humanitarian purposes,’” said Roy Anunciacion, the global coordinator of PCFS.

Touted as the solution to Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) in developing countries, Golden Rice patent owner Syngenta – now owned by ChemChina – has been funding field trials in Bangladesh and Philippines. Farmer groups from both countries, however, have taken to the streets and uprooted the crops in response. International green and rural groups have also expressed opposition to the Golden Rice initiative as its health and environmental risks were not properly measured.

“Golden Rice [is not] a solution to VAD as we have said again and again. It is Syngenta-ChemChina’s trojan horse in cornering the rice seed market and profiteering from farmers through it,” said Anunciacion.

Named as the Big 4 post mega-mergers, Syngenta-ChemChina, Dow-Dupont, Bayer-Monsanto, and BASF are said to control 76 percent of the global seed and pesticides market and 70.7 percent of the total global agrochemical sales last year.

Meanwhile, over the years, seed prices produced by the Big 4 have been steadily rising in direct proportion to the increase in seed market capture.

According to Anunciacion, farmers and rural peoples’ groups across the world, especially in the developing countries, are set to register their opposition to the corporate GM rice and seed oligopoly on August 8, which they recognize as the global day of action against Golden Rice.

“We call on all our member organizations, networks, and allies to raise all the banners against Golden Rice and seed monopoly. We will not let these corporations own the food we cultivate,” Anunciacion added. # nordis.net

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