Controversy surrounds Golden Rice. Proponents claim that with the implementation of Golden Rice into Third World countries, mortality rates will significantly decrease as many people die from nutrient deficiencies of vitamin A, iodine, iron, and zinc. Calling the death of thousands of children a 'Nutritional Holocaust', the Golden Rice Project aims to implement their genetically modified rice in areas where the deficiency of essential nutrients is greatest. Despite what seems to be a sincere effort to help the poor people of the world, there are numerous concerns about the effectiveness of Golden Rice if it were implemented.
Opponents of the Golden Rice Project claim that Golden Rice will not resolve vitamin A deficiencies, that it would require large portions of rice to meet people's needed daily intake. Another large argument against this project is the notion of the government controlling a country's food supply. If the GE seeds come from the government and people are required to buy those seeds, they will be completely dependent on the government for their food supply. Another problem with the implementation of the Golden Rice is that it takes away from the diversity of food sources in Third World Countries. If farmers begin growing Golden Rice in large quantities, then they will not be as likely to grow other foods native to their country because they will be spending a larger amount of time and energy on growing their rice.
One major opponent of the Golden Rice Project is environmentalist Vandana Shiva. Not only does Shiva call the Golden Rice Project a 'Hoax', but she believes that agriculture should be left in the hands of women. In Democratizing Biology, Shiva says that agriculture is "women's work and livelihood", that their knowledge has been "the mainstay of the indigenous dairy industry" (455). For Shiva, agriculture is best left in the hands of women who have knowledge of agriculture and the soil. Only then will biodiversity be conserved and food will become available for the people who need it.
While I agree that women's work has gone largely unnoticed in the field of agriculture, I do not believe that simply reverting to primitive methods of farming will help those people who are dying from nutritional deficiencies. If people are dying and we have the technology to help these people, then let's help them. I know that many people do not agree with Genetic Engineering, but in my opinion, it has caused more good than harm. Once Golden Rice is approved for human consumption, I think it should be implemented in countries where there is a nutritional deficiency. Although it may not give them all the vitamins that they need, right now it is the best way for people to consume more vitamins than they would normally get.
What I want to know:
What do you think about Golden Rice? Is it beneficial? Or is it just a way for the government to control a population's food supply? Should more natural methods of agriculture be implemented in countries with nutritional deficiencies?