Rally and Human Chain to Demand Stop Golden Rice

by Social Movements in Bangladesh | 8 Nov 2019
Press Release “Stop Approving Multinational Corporate Company GMO Golden Rice That is Harmful to Health, Environment and Agriculture” Social Movements in Bangladesh

(download the original text in Bengali here)

On 08 November 2019, Friday, 10.30 am organized by Labour Resource Center (LRC), All Bangla Farmers Association (ABFA), Bangladesh Sramajibi Nari (BSN), All Bangla Fishermen’s Association (ABFMA) and Bangladesh Youth Farmers Association (BYFA) organizing Human Chain and Rally to protest against the “Stop the Harmful Golden Rice Approval for Health, Environment, Farmer and Agriculture” in Tulsighat Bazar, Gaibandha Sadar, Gaibandha District.

Speakers at the rally and human chain said that Golden Rice is a genetically modified rice that is invented by multinational companies. It is being promoted in beta-carotene, vitamins A and zinc, which eliminates the nutritional demand of people and night-blindness.

In the sixties, our agriculture system was destroyed in the name of modern agriculture. At that time its main purpose was to introduce high yielding rice. However, high yielding rice was introduced without proper evaluation of our country's rice yield. The name of this kind of high-yielding agriculture is given as green revolution. Due to the evil of the Green Revolution, we lose our different varieties of rice. As a result, rice seed went away in the hands of several multinational companies. Farmers are losing seeds, farmers are dependent on the seed for the market.

Shibli Anowar, general secretary of the Labor Resource Center, said that if BR-20 rice is enriched with vitamin A, it will eat all the people, who have no deficiency will eat. So is that right or not, will BR-20 rice be left as a medicine now? So what will people eat as a normal meal? Companies say that an elderly person who consumes 150 grams of Golden Rice will get the required dose of vitamin A. So whoever does not have vitamin A deficiency in the body will eat the same amount of Golden Rice? The main advice for those who work on loss of vision power due to lack of nutrients is to diversify the diet. Just eating rice will never eliminate the nutritional deficit. They say Golden Rice will require more babies and expectant mothers.

Indian scientist Dr. Tushar Chakraborty warns at a meeting, this rice contains derivatives of retinoic acid which can cause birth defects in pregnant women when a pregnant woman eats, Which is called teratogenicity in the medical language. Although regular vitamins are essential for health, high levels of vitamin A hyper-vitaminosis and terra lignity can cause vitamin poisoning, nasal pain, nausea, and Fontanelle in children, while long-term toxicity causes bone and bone fractures. Can cause diseases such as hair fall, dryness fever, weight loss, high blood pressure, cracked lips. Vitamin A content is lost if stored in Golden Rice. Carotenoids are naturally light sensitive and react with oxygen in the air. As a result, they may be missing vitamin A during processing, warehousing or food processing. As a result, the demand for solving multi-faceted malnutrition problems or blindness is unscientific. This is essentially a corporate effort to generate public opinion towards Zen technology. Indeed, Golden Rice destroys biodiversity through the management of industrial management in agriculture, which will erode food diversity and is one of the leading causes of malnutrition problems.

Foreign companies are trying hard to produce arbitrary GMO crops in a country rich in fertile and biodiversity like Bangladesh. In spite of various movement, protestation and resistance, the government has allowed BT Begun to cultivate commercially. And there are BT cotton and blight resistant potato in field level experiments. Bangladesh Agriculture Ministry and Bangladesh Rice Research Institute have already approved Golden Rice. To cultivate Golden Rice commercially, only the Environment and Forest Ministry is waiting for the clearance.

Speakers at the rally and human chain said that the character of the infection of Golden Rice is very aggressive. The land on which the Golden Rice will be cultivated, only that the land or the surrounding area will not be infected. With the help of water, soil and wind, cross-pollination or a variety of pollen, there are many natural ways to fertilize another species, all of them can be applied to Golden Rice.

Sinjenta Company has approved the production of Golden Rice in 2015 from Bangladesh Rice Research Institute. Bangladesh is the only state that has approved such a thing as Golden Rice. Jivan Krishn Biswas, the then Director General of the institute, has played a key role in this. It is believed that Golden Rice will be marketed everywhere in Bangladesh by government and non-governmental initiatives.
If the Golden Rice is introduced in Bangladesh, extreme damage to agriculture and farmers will be achieved. Because the farmers will be tempted to cultivate this paddy. As a result, the process of preserving and producing the own seeds of the farmers will be finely disrupted. Farmers will lose their sovereignty over traditional seeds. Thus, the farmer's food sovereignty will be destroyed.

Farmers of GMO Bt Cotton cultivation in different provinces of India opted for the massacre of victims due to extensive harvests. So far 2.5 million farmers committed suicide there. It was said that the farmers would benefit from cultivating GMO Katan. On the contrary, their lives were lost.In our country, by cultivating imported Narika rice and Jollok rice from Africa, farmers from different region's, including Noakhali have destitute. No compensation has been given to the farmers for this crop. There are likely to be such situations with Golden Rice. Already the commercialization of BT brinjal did not bring any good results. All the farmers who have received it have suffered. It has been said that Canada, America and Australia have approved the Golden Rice. But their approval is one kind of consent. They did not approve cultivation in their own country. But in developing countries of the world, they have no objection to farming. Where the Golden Rice originates, in the Philippines, the field of experiments has been destroyed by the farmers protesting severely.

The speakers fervently call upon the government to comply with demands as follows:-
1. Golden Rice is not introduced in Bangladesh
2. Ministry of Environment and Forests should not give clearance to Golden Rice
3. Commercial cultivation of Bt Brinjal is stopped
4. The GMO crops that are being tested at field level are stopped immediately
5. Do not allow any type of crop cultivation to be harmful for environmental pollution and public health
6. Extra-rationic fertilizers and pesticides-based crops should not be approved for cultivation

Thanking you

Md. Shamim Sarkar
General Secretary
Upzila committee of LRC

President upazila committee of All Bangla Farmers Association (ABFA), in the chairmanship of Great freedom fighter Mr. Mpdubar Rahman Sarkar the Human Chain and Rally was addressed, Shibli Anowar General Secretary of Labour Resource Center (LRC), Abdur Razak Upazila committee General Secretary of All Bangla Farmers Association (ABFA), Musumi Bagum President of Bangladesh Sramajibi Nari (BSN), Golapi Begume Upazila committee General Secretary of Bangladesh Sramajibi Nari (BSN), Gulam Rabbani President of the All Bangla Fishermen’s Association (ABFMA), Md. Hasir Uddin Upazila committee General Secretary of All Bangla Fishermen’s Association (ABFMA), Md. Rupom Shak Upazila committee President of Bangladesh Youth Farmers Association (BYFA), Md. Monzural Islam Upazila committee General Secretary of Bangladesh Youth Farmers Association (BYFA), Md. Mukul Mondol Central Leader of Labour Resource Center (LRC), Munni Aktur Upzila President of Labour Resource Center (LRC), Md. Shamim Sarkar Upzila committee General Secretary of Labour Resource Center (LRC) and union committee's leader and women's leader.
Author: Social Movements in Bangladesh
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