PH to Play Critical Role in Global Food Security with 2013 Golden Rice Launch

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines will play a critical role in boosting global food security and reducing malnutrition as it will be the launch pad from which Golden Rice will be put to the market by to 2013.

Having been the first to commercialize the genetically modified (GM) Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn in Asia in 2002, the Philippines will once more set off to commercialize Golden Rice. This will save as much as 6,000 people daily death worldwide due to Vitamin A deficiency complications. Aside from causing blindness, Vitamin A deficiency, inflicting some 124 million children globally, is known to worsen infections including HIV-AIDS, measles, and other childhood diseases leading to higher mortality rate.

As the development of Golden Rice is being conducted by Philippine Rice Research Institute (PHilrice) in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), it will likely be launched first in the Philippines, according to International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) Chairman and Founder Clive James.

"The Philippines will wear another crown with Golden Rice in 2013. If you open up (this) rice, you will the first to make the first biotech rice, and you will open up a huge area in the world, James said in an interview.

"The cost of Vitamin A deficiency to the Philippines has been documented in mortality, deaths, and disability at $88 million per year. …