The Philippines on July 21 became the first country to approve commercial propagation of Golden Rice.
For the past two decades, the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have been developing Golden Rice to help combat vitamin A deficiency which can cause blindness and lead to other diseases.
According to the IRRI, around one in five children from the poorest communities in the Philippines suffer from vitamin A deficiency, which affects an estimated 190 million children worldwide.
DA-PhilRice released a permit for Golden Rice on July 21 that stated it had “undergone satisfactory biosafety assessment pursuant to Department of Science and Technology, DA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Health, and Department of Interior and Local Government Joint Department Circular No.1, Series of 2016.”
The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said studies have shown that a one-cup portion of cooked Golden Rice contains enough beta-carotene to meet up to 30%-50% of the estimated average requirement of vitamin A for children aged 6 months to 5 years, the group most at risk of vitamin A insufficiency in the Philippines.
“This milestone puts the Philippines at the global forefront in leveraging agriculture research to address the issues of malnutrition and related health impacts in a safe and sustainable way” said Jean Balié, director general of IRRI, a CGIAR research center. “The regulatory success of Golden Rice demonstrates the research leadership of DA-PhilRice and the robustness of the Philippine biosafety regulatory system.”
Read more here.