The hoax product “golden rice” continues to be touted through the corporate media and academia bullhorn. This is even though it doesn’t exist except in flawed experimental form while its own proprietor, the International Rice Research Institute, admits that even if it ever were perfected and available to the public, it may not actually work to reduce vitamin A deficiency. The PR campaign has an inverse ratio of noisy lies to real world achievement.
The media continues to spew the typical lies. The fact is that never once has anyone actually tried to deliver “golden rice” anywhere and been prevented from doing so by citizen action. That’s because the product doesn’t exist in deployable form. Researchers continue to struggle to breed an indica variety of the product. Any phony regulatory struggle hasn’t even begun yet, as the technical problems of the project remain insurmountable. Yet we keep being told by professional liars that the US government and the GMO cartel, the most powerful government and one of the most powerful corporate oligopoly sectors on earth, are being thwarted by “powerful forces”. When I ponder the flimsiness and sheer idiocy of the lies GMO proponents tell, I don’t know what’s greater, these people’s moral depravity or their intellectual stupidity.
Of course, citizens will indeed fight wherever we have to, as we do vs. every other predatory poison GMO.
The fact is that golden rice has never been anything more than a media hoax. Since all real-world GMOs are simply poison delivery systems (they either produce insecticide inside their own tissues, and/or can withstand having herbicide sprayed upon them, which then suffuses all their tissues), the core propgagnda gambit of the GMO cartel, that GMOs are necessary to “feed the world”, seems suspicious on its face. This has actually long since been proven to be false. Since corporate agriculture has been in control of global agriculture and food systems for over fifty years, and the world now produces enough food for 10 billion people, and yet of 7 billion alive now over 1 billion go hungry, it’s a proven fact that corporate agriculture cannot feed the world and does not want to. Which stands to reason, since corporate agriculture doesn’t produce food, it produces commodities.
When you think about it for a moment, and add the fact that GMOs do nothing but double down on every aspect of corporate industrial agriculture, it becomes obvious that “feed the world” is nothing more or less than a classical Big Lie.
That’s the huge hurdle the pro-GMO liars have to surmount in their propaganda. How to get people not to think! The “golden rice” hoax was concocted toward this goal. It’s said to be humanitarian, it’s about vitamins rather than poison, it piggybacks on the immiseration/helplessness theme of the Green Revolution and 80s-era celebrity philanthropy, it’s allegedly being offered to the disadvantaged “Third World” as charity.
These are all standard lies. What the global South needs is the revitalization and strengthening of its own agricultural systems in order to produce food for itself on its own land, rather than the accelerating destruction of its self-sustaining community agriculture in favor of corporate commodity plantations on stolen land.
The epidemic of vitamin A deficiency is a direct result of this destruction of sustainable agricultural communities. Throughout agricultural history people have grown a plethora of regionally-adapted nutrient-rich crops, including the root crops and leafy vegetables which are rich in vitamin A. But all this is lost to industrialized farmers who grow not food but export commodities, and the much vaster mass of ex-farmers driven off their land and into shantytowns. Those who are driven off their land lose all ability to provide any food for themselves and their people, while those who hang on as industrial farm laborers also lose their ability to grow nutritious food, since they now grow only commodities.
The epidemic of night blindness is a typical proof that those economically destroyed by commodification cannot use cash to buy what they need. Specifically, it’s one of many pieces of proof that corporate ag cannot “feed the world”. Since it was the corporate control of agriculture which generated the epidemic in the first place, why would any sane person trust them to provide the solution using their own methods? It’s self evidently a lie.
Meanwhile in the Philippines a government program of vitamin A supplementation has already temporarily treated the symptom, and vitamin A deficiency is no longer a major problem, or won’t be so long as this program exists. So why is such a golden rice propaganda offensive being undertaken there? Precisely because the corporate system seeks to eradicate the few effective government programs which still exist. The successful Philippine program is an ongoing affront to corporatism. The privatization of all “solutions” is of course a major goal in itself.
Of course supplementation is no real solution. The problem is the destruction of humanity’s organic presence on the land and the naturally nutritious diet which goes with this. The true solution is to transform our agriculture on an agroecological basis and our communities and economies on a food sovereignty basis. This is the only way forward, from the point of view of big problems like the unsustainability of industrial agriculture, the wholesale toxification of our natural environment, climate change, and escalating economic and political tyranny, all the way down to specific problems like vitamin A deficiency disease.
Meanwhile “golden rice”, if it worked, would be nothing but a glorified vitamin supplement. But this vitamin supplement would be the result of a properly configured “public-private partnership”, where the public pays all the costs and bears all the risks while the corporations glean all the profit. Although Syngenta claims to have “donated” its patents on golden rice, this only contemplates the product’s targeted humanitarian “demonstration” stage. If the product were ever truly commercialized, this commercialization would be on the standard proprietary basis. Even the IRRI explicitly reserves the right to take out patents. But the fact that Syngenta seeks to drum up such an altruistic propaganda nimbus is in itself a strong indication that the product is not expected to ever work in a practical way, but is intended to never be anything more than the sum of its hype.