Philippines approves genetically modified ‘Golden Rice’

“Golden Rice” which is genetically modified has been given approval for commercial production by Philippines. Health experts believe that this decision will save lives and combat childhood blindness in the developing regions of the world.

 

Highlights

  • The government issued a bio safety permit which paves way for this rice which is enriched with beta-carotene the vitamin A-precursor and makes this rice more nutritional.
  • International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) along with the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute has spent two decades to develop the golden rice which is named so due to its bright yellow hue.
  • This is the first kind of genetically modified rice which has been approved for commercial usage in the South and Southeast Asia region.

 

When will the Golden Rice be available for consumption?

Despite having passed the final regulatory hurdles this rice variety is still way off from appearing in the food bowls of the people. Limited quantities of Golden Rice seeds will be distributed to the Filipino farmers in selected provinces in the year 2022.

 

Difference between ordinary and golden rice?

Ordinary rice produces beta-carotene in the plant, but this is not found in the grain whereas golden rice will produce beta-carotene in the grain itself. The farmers will be able to grow Golden rice in similar way to that of the ordinary rice varieties.

 

Importance of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is crucial for development and normal growth, vision and the proper functioning of the immune system. The data of World Health Organization show that vitamin A deficiency causes up to 5,00,000 cases of childhood blindness every year, with half of those dying within 12 months of losing their sight. According to IRRI, nearly 17% of the Filipino children who are under the age of five in the country are Vitamin A deficient.

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