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Victory Against GM Golden Rice And Bt Eggplant In The Philippines Court, A Crucial Win In The Global Fight Against GMOs


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A decade ago, more than
400 farmers, women, youth and consumers strongly voiced the
people’s overwhelming rejection of the genetically
modified Golden Rice by uprooting the field trials in Pili,
Camarines Sur, Philippines. This rejection included the
premise that vitamins can be artificially ingested through
gene editing. Nature has given enough diversity for people
to get all the necessary ingredients in various forms,
through food diversity. The historic action has now resulted
in a major victory as the Philippine Supreme Court on 19
April 2024 issued a
cease-and-desist order
on the commercial propagation of
genetically modified Golden Rice and Bt eggplant in the
country.

It re-emphasises the need for precautionary
principle, ignored by regulators specifically by The
Philippines and New Zealand in this particular case of
Golden Rice. Genetic contamination, because of GM products,
can have irreversible consequences on plant genetic
resources and thus on human beings.

The
rejection against Golden Rice has become a symbol of
resistance against GMOs and corporate control in
agriculture, not just in the Philippines and in other Asian
countries but across the world. Thus, the court decision
also symbolises victory for farmers and consumers everywhere
as the decision goes beyond Golden Rice and Bt eggplant and
covers “any application for contained use, field testing,
direct use as food or feed or processing, commercial
propagation, and importation of
GMOs.”

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The court recognized that
government agencies and other proponents of Golden Rice and
Bt eggplant “failed to submit proof of safety and
compliance with all legal requirements.” According to the
court decision, this order remains indefinite until GMOs
proponents could fulfill all the mandated steps and be able
to give concrete evidence that these GMOs are indeed safe.
Farmers, consumers and civil society organizations across
Asia under the banner of Stop Golden Rice Network celebrate
this momentous victory.

We do recognize there is a
need to address hunger and malnutrition in Asia and around
the world, particularly in the face of global food,
economic, climate crises and war. But we strongly believe
that the solution is not in Golden Rice, nor other
genetically modified food crops, but through supporting the
traditional and small farmers who remain the main producers
and protectors of diverse sources of food. We believe that
GM crops are primarily pushed by global monopoly capitalists
in food and agriculture. Throughout Asia and the rest of the
world, there is already irrevocable evidence of the failure
of GM crops and how it has contributed to further
indebtedness, crop failures, hunger, and loss of
biodiversity.

The resilience of farmers, consumers in
the Philippines against Golden Rice, Bt eggplant and other
GMO crops in their countries which have been vindicated by
the Supreme Court have become a testament that people’s
persistence prevails in the face of corporate capture of our
agriculture and food system. Securing small farmers’
control over resources such as seed, appropriate
technologies, water and land is the real key to improving
food production and eradicating hunger and
malnutrition.

© Scoop Media

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