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Bangladesh: Farmers, agricultural workers continue their fight to block commercial release of genetically-engineered rice

The IUF-affiliated Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation (BAFLF) and  National Women Farmers and Workers’ Association (NWFA) jointly organized a public meeting at the National Press Club in Dhaka on 17 October 2019 to demand the government rescind its decision to authorize the commercial release of genetically-engineered ‘Golden Rice’. In February 2019, the agriculture minister announced that commercial cultivation of golden rice could start “within three months” . The decision is now pending approval from the environment ministry.  

Swiss-based Syngenta, now owned by ChemChina, owns the rights to Golden Rice. Promoted as a solution to Vitamin A deficiency by the International Rice Research Institute and the Gates Foundation, Golden Rice in fact contains little beta-carotene, and can only retain the little it has under strict conditions which are inaccessible to the working people who are its alleged beneficiaries. A single carrot contains the same amount of Vitamin A as 4 kilograms of cooked Golden Rice. Poverty and the lack of access to a diversified diet are the causes of Vitamin A deficiency. Released into the environment for cultivation, GM rice is a potent threat to bio-diversity.

Bangladesh Farmers agricultural workers continue their fight to block commercial
BAFLF and NWFA reaffirmed their call for the government to ban the commercial release of Golden Rice and the cultivation of genetically modified BT brinjal (eggplant), introduce a strict bio-safety law, provide support to farmers preserving traditional seeds and promote agro-ecology.



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