Share this story!
A type of rice designed to boost A-vitamin under the name of "Golden Rice" has been approved for cultivation by the Department of Agriculture-Philippines Research Center for Rice (DA-PhilRice).
The decision makes Golden Rice the first nutrient-enriched genetically modified rice crop to be approved for cultivation in southern and southeastern Asia. The rice was developed by the Healthier Rice Project and the International Rice Research Institute and contains beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A.
One in five children in the Philippines and nearly 200 million children worldwide are believed to suffer from deficiency of this vitamin.
The deficiency can, among other things, lead to blindness. The rice is genetically engineered to provide 50 percent of a child's daily requirement of the essential vitamin per portion.
"This milestone approval is the product of cross-cutting collaborative work in the agriculture and nutrition sciences, the public sector, and local farming communities, who are all looking forward to seeing Golden Rice reach the tables of those who need it the most.”, said Dr. John. C De Leon, CEO of DA-PhilRice, in a press release.
The crop doesn’t need to be handled in any special way and can be grown just like regular rice. In ordinary rice plants, the substance beta carotene is present but not in the grain itself. What the researchers have done is to ensure that the beta carotene is also present in the rice grain itself.
The biggest obstacle has been overcome, but it may still be some time before the rice reaches most homes, as there is still a limited amount of rice grains, according to an article in France24.