Golden Rice

Vitamin A enriched rice, developed nearly 15 years ago, could have prevented hundreds of thousands of cases of childhood blindness. It has never been used due to concerns over GMO foods.

The economic power of the Golden Rice opposition

Vitamin A enriched rice (Golden Rice) is a cost-efficient solution that can substantially reduce health costs. Despite Golden Rice being available since early 2000, this rice has not been introduced in any country. Governments must perceive additional costs that overcompensate the benefits of the technology to explain the delay in approval. We develop a real option model including irreversibility and uncertainty about perceived costs and arrival of new information to explain a delay in approval. The model has been applied to the case of India. Results show the annual perceived costs have to be at least US$199 million per year approximately for the last decade to explain the delay in approval of the technology. This is an indicator of the economic power of the opposition towards Golden Rice resulting in about 1.4 million life years lost over the past decade in India. Continue Reading (32 minute read)

12 thoughts on “Vitamin A enriched rice, developed nearly 15 years ago, could have prevented hundreds of thousands of cases of childhood blindness. It has never been used due to concerns over GMO foods.”


    It’s funny, reading my textbook and after a minute or two of reading I come across this:

    Biotechnology is also being used to enhance the nutritional value of crop plants. More than one-third of the world’s population uses rice as a dietary staple, but most varieties of rice contain little or no vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency causes more than 500,000 cases of blindness in children each year. A genetically engineered strain, called golden rice, has high levels of two compounds that the body converts to vitamin A. Golden rice should reduce the burden of this disease. Other crops, including wheat, corn, beans, and cassava, are also being modified to enhance nutritional value by increasing their vitamin and mineral content.

    Brooker, R. (2012). Concepts of genetics. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

  2. Yanrogue

    Couldn’t enriched rice also help North Korea due to rampant malnutrition?

  3. findmein

    GMO itself isn’t dangerous, but the increased amount of use of pesticides and herbicides is dangerous. Another threat is big corporations which owns rights for the intellectual property of crops.

  4. Peruda

    This is what happens when idiots meet pseudo-science.

  5. Freeiheit

    Anti GMO is pro starvation

  6. japooki

    I did an agricultural exchange (I’m American, exchangees were Polish) and lived on 2 Polish corn farms for a little over a month. I was so surprised how reluctant they were about GMOs, it’s like they thought they would sprout legs and take their children. Luckily, the Polish kids that came over here returned without the same mentality.

  7. malvoliosf

    I love how “peer review” is unassailable when it comes to climate change, but when a Berkeley academic and somebody from the U of Munich publish a paper about how to save millions of lives, suddenly Monsanto must be behind it…

  8. adamwho

    This has been resisted specifically by Green Peace.

    It goes to show you that activist organization once they meet their goals tend to go more extreme.

    Have you ever seen an organization say “Our work is done here, now it is time to disband”?

  9. aes0p81

    Figures like these are misleading and disingenuous. There’s no way to know what type of ecological and political damage the crop could have caused in that time. Also, as mentioned elsewhere, you won’t solve vitamin A deficiency without additional dietary supplementation.

  10. fghfgjgjuzku

    Vitamin A is cheap to make and also contained in many kinds of food. If there is serious shortage of it the reason for that certainly isn’t nonacceptance of a GMO solution. Making farmers worldwide dependent on engineered crops and the few huge companies that hold the knowledge and patents is certainly not a good idea.

  11. Themantogoto

    GMO’s are amazing wonders of science, I will never fully understand the resistance to them. Only shitty thing is big agriculture holding farmers to buy seeds every year. They are all extensively tested to make sure they are safe to consume, will not be invasive, and are actually killable. Yes that is right, it can be so hardy that they worry about that. Big ag, like big pharma, does some amazing stuff but the cost of it socially and monetarily is often to much.

  12. zstandig

    Yeah, people are paranoid about a lot of things without reason.

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