According to the presentation by one of its proponents Dr. Roel Suralta from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Golden Rice can contribute in addressing malnutrition, in particular the Vitamin-A Deficiency (VAD), as it contains Beta-Carotene which is a precursor of Vitamin A. The prevalence of VAD in the Philippines and in global scale poses a great threat to people especially children and lactating mothers.
[However], b-carotene is fat-soluble, so the absence of fat or oil in diet will still result to a low absorption rate of b-carotene. Therefore, Golden Rice is not the solution to VAD. It is only through diverse diet.
But then again, VAD as a social problem that stems from hunger cannot be solved in vitro or inside laboratories. It is timely now for various agencies like the Department of Agriculture, PhilRice, and Bureau of Plant Industry among other government agencies to depart from compartmentalized and fragmented solutions to complex social problem.
If the proponents are serious enough to address hunger and malnutrition, it is imperative for them to come up with a resolution to put a moratorium on the expansion of big agri-business plantations that for the longest time way back during the hacienda system are responsible in the decrease of the diverse diet of poor Filipinos.
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