The threatened introduction of GE rice raises important health, environmental and agricultural concerns for farmers and the global community. Farmers in the developing world are particularly concerned about the patenting of GE rice seeds by corporations. They are concerned that if GE rice was grown, widespread contamination would force them to purchase new seeds each year – resulting in increased production costs.
The attempt by global agribusiness to introduce GE rice is a further extension of its tactic to promote ‘high value’ market oriented crops in Asia. This has resulted in large profits for multinationals at a huge cost to Asian communities. The tactic has led to the decreased diversity of crop species and varieties which in turn has led to problems such food insecurity and malnutrition.
As the organiser of WORA in Bangladesh, Farida Akhter, points out – 40 years ago Bangladesh boasted as many as 15,000 different varieties of rice. Today, due to the Green Revolution, there are only 2,000 varieties left. Each rice variety exhibits unique nutritional benefits and cultural importance. For a region which relies on rice as its staple food, variety and diversity is crucial to health and well-being.
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