Excerpt from Webinar on Genuine Agrarian Reform
Questions by ND Online School of Anakbayan-Europa
Answers by Jose Maria Sison
August 22, 2021
- What was the impact of genetically modified rice, such as the so-called miracle rice since the time of Marcos, on the land problem and the need for agrarian reform? What is going to be the impact of the so-called golden rice?
JMS: The so-called miracle rice ran counter to the promised land reform in favor of the tenants and aggravated the land problem. The costs of producing the miracle rice went so high that only the landlords and agri-corporations had the capital to produce them. The miracle rice variety was so genetically engineered as to need an extremely large amount of agrichemicals from US agricorporations and plenty of water requiring loans from the World Bank to build the irrigation dams.
As in the previous case of the miracle rice, the same imperialist interests (Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto and Syngenta) are involved in engineering and pushing the golden rice. This time they use the pretext of supplying more beta-carotene in the rice which upon ingestion becomes Vitamin A. But what frustrates land reform and aggravates the land problem is the further rise of production costs unaffordable to the tenants and poor peasants. The seeds, agrichemicals and loans for facilities are under the control of the US agri-corporations and big compradors.
The food sovereignty of the Filipino people is further prejudiced and damaged. And when the golden rice is planted, it contaminates and distorts the genes of the seeds of other rice varieties and other plants in the vicinity. While Vitamin A is provided supposedly to prevent eye diseases, it causes dryness of the eyes and causes blindness if people do not promptly get the proper eye drops and treatment.