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Our Final Evening on the Allow Golden Rice Now South Asian Tour

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The end of the Golden Rice Asian Tour was an evening get-together with the team and key people who might help in getting an independent effort to develop Golden Rice in India. It would be good if there were some international competition to see who can get Golden Rice approved first to help the millions of children and mothers who so desperately need it.

The Golden Rice Campaign will continue with efforts to bring Golden Rice to market as soon as possible. This is one of the greatest humanitarian disasters in the world today and we are dedicated to help ending it. 

Our Opponents False Arguments

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During the past five years there has been a nasty campaign aimed at linking Bt Cotton (and Monsanto which supplies some, but nowhere near all, of the seed) with farmer suicides in India. It is claimed that the high cost of the seed is driving farmers into bankruptcy so they are taking their own lives out of guilt.

Wealthy anti-GM activist Vandana Shiva claims planting GM seed is tantamount to “rape” and that Monsanto is guilty of “genocide”. A little research proves all this to be a fabrication.

First, the vast majority of the suicides in India occur in urban areas, not on farms, presumably due to higher stress in cities. Second, cotton farm incomes have gone up and farmers lives have been improved by close to double the production. Third, the suicide rate among farmers has gone down since Bt cotton was introduced. And fourth, India has a lower national suicide rate than the United States and is about equal with Canada, Australia, and Sweden.

Yet the opposite of this has been shared to millions of people worldwide who have no way to check the facts independently.

Press Conference - Taj Palace Hotel

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On March 18 the Golden Rice team moved on to Mumbai, the financial capital of India, where we were hosted by Mr. Rajju Shroff, head of Uni-Phos Inc, Mr. Shroff is very active in agricultural policy as Chairman of the Crop Care Federation of India. He has taken on Greenpeace and the activists over untrue allegations about agriculture practices and has won against them in the courts. At 82 he is still fit and in fighting form and is doing all he can to raise awareness of Golden Rice as a cure for vitamin A deficiency.

Mr. Shroff kindly arranged and hosted a media conference and afternoon seminar for journalists, scientists, and government officials at the Taj Palace Hotel in South Mumbai. There were about 60 participants and much was learned by all.

India is now the second largest producer of agricultural crops in the world, after China. India is a net exporter of food with a population of 1.3 billion, quite a feat and a great advance from decades ago when starvation was a constant threat. More than 50% of the population are engaged in food production but that is changing as mechanization comes in.

The only GM crop approved for farming in India is Bt cotton which was approved in 2002. Since then cotton production has nearly doubled, farm incomes have increased, and India has gone from a cotton importing country to a cotton exporting country.

Press Conference - Delhi Press Club

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The Golden Rice Asian Tour arrived in New Delhi, India from Dhaka on March 14 for an eventful 3 days. The highlight was our well-attended media conference at the National Press Club where about 30 journalists turned out. This resulted in at least 18 media reports, many of which were picked up in multiple publications. TV crews were present so we assume some wider coverage was gained as well.

We learned that India had been well along in its own Golden Rice development program until a moratorium on all GM plant trials was declared by the previous government a few years back. The new government under President Modi has lifted the moratorium and there are now field trials going on with 7 different varieties of cotton and various food crops including eggplant.

Bangladesh has approved commercial commercial growing of GM (Bt) eggplant and it is likely India will eventually follow suit. This makes the climate for a possible independent program of Golden Rice development in India.

 Visiting a bt Brinjal farm - The first GM crop in Bangladesh

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We had the good fortune to be in Bangladesh just as the first commercial crop of Bt bridal was ripening. We were escorted to a field in the country by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute where a farmer was growing two varieties of this new GM crop.

This year there are 106 growers. Next year as the seed supply multiplies there will be over 1000 and then there will be 100s of thousands in future years.

It was very heartening to find that the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute is working hard to get the first commercial Golden Rice to farmers in the near future. 

Lecture - Department of Botany at the University of Dhaka

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We were hosted by the Department of Botany at the University of Dhaka where professors Rakha Hari Sarker, and Professor Imdadul Hoque took us around and arranged for us to present our campaign to 200 students of biotechnology and other disciplines.

Meeting the Minister of Agriculture Matia Chowdhury

With Minister of Agriculture Matia Chowdhury and the Ministry Staff and University Professors

With Minister of Agriculture Matia Chowdhury and the Ministry Staff and University Professors

With Bangladesh Minister of Agriculture, Matia Dhowdbury

With Bangladesh Minister of Agriculture, Matia Dhowdbury

Press Conference Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Our press conference in Dhaka was a huge success, with at least 20 press photographers and 15 journalists.

Bangladesh are pro-GMO and using technology to solve major issues like increasing food production for their people.

One of the journalists we met there happened to be a good friend of the Minister of Agriculture, Matia Chowdhury. She has served two terms in the ministry and she is very knowledgable about her post.

She welcomed us into her office with a number of other top people and we had a wide-ranging discussion of the challenge to feed a growing population and the promise of biotechnology to solve many problems in agriculture.

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After the media conference at the National Press Club, we travelled to Quezon City, the largest and most well-to-do district in Manila, to demonstrate at the Greenpeace office.


The office building where Greenpeace South East Asia is housed has no indication of their presence there. They don’t want “walk-ins” like we did in the early days of Greenpeace when it was all about public outreach. Today they tend to be cloistered in their well-oiled fundraising machine, bringing in millions with their opposition to GMOs.

Greenpeace refers to Golden Rice as “a Trojan Horse for GMOs”, indicating they know full well that Golden Rice will cure vitamin A deficiency if it is ever approved for agricultural production. I tell our audiences “We are getting in the Horse, because we know who won that battle. It was the guys in the Horse!”

No one from Greenpeace showed their face while we chanted:

 

Golden Rice Now!

Greenpeace think twice, allow Golden Rice

Greenpeace be wise, stop telling lies

Golden Rice Now

Press Conferences - Manila and Quezon City

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We were able to reach a lot on media in Manila with fantastic assistance from Carol Claudio at the National Press Club of the Philippines.


We held our first conference on Friday March 6 at the National Press Club in downtown Manila and a second one at the weekly Saturday morning press meeting in Quezon City on March 7.

The most prominent local anti-Golden Rice organization MASIPAG, the group that destroyed the Golden Rice Field trials in 2013, held a rally at the Ministry of Agriculture the same day.

Most other news is overshadowed by the crisis in the southern island of Mindanao where Muslim extremists are threatening civil war so we were fortunate to get the attention we did. Voice of America covered the event with a somewhat lukewarm article, but at least we were at the top of the story.

Our visit to the International Rice Research Institue - The Philippines

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The first activity of the Golden Rice South Asian Tour was an all-day visit to the International Rice Research Institute outside Manila, Philippines.

We met with the Director General, Bob Ziegler, Head of Communication Tony Lambino, Deputy DG Bruce Tolentino, Violeta Villegas, Senior Scientist with the Golden Rice project, and many members of the Golden Rice team.

We were toured around the large grounds where many field trials for numerous rice trials are underway. Most impressive was the long-term continuous cropping program. For 52 years plots of rice under various regimes of fertilizer including no fertilizer, have been producing three crops per year and there has been no loss of productivity and a net uptake of carbon in the soil.

South Asian Tour Press Releases

Press Release - Philippines

Press Release - Bangladesh

Press Release - Delhi

Press Release - Mumbai

Golden Rice Now! South Asian Tour, March 4 - 20, 2014

Press conferences - South Asian tour

The Press Club of the PhilippinesThe Press Club of Dhaka

The Press Club of India

The Taj Palace (Mumbia)

06 March 11.00am11 March 11.00am

16 March 12.00pm

19 March 11.30am

Golden Rice Now! European Tour, June 17 - 23, 2014

German media coverage

TAZ.DE
Germany's main left-wing newspaper declared its support for excepting Golden Rice from gm activism
original article here
DIE WELT
The national newspeper Die Welt comes out strongnly defending Golden Rice and says the arguments against GMO are losing credibility
Following the Die Welt publication teh story was picked up by the Press Agengies and has been widely reprinted
Article in German here (use Google Chrome to translate)
AGRARMANAGER
Germany's main agricultural website gives home page coverage of the story, accurately reporting the case for Golden Rice
and noting the change in german public opinion
original article here
CROPGEN
German poll shows members of ruling parties and youth support Golden Rice
Original article here

Media following the April 2014 European Tour

Novo Argumente Magazine
An interview with Dr. Patrick Moore about the Environmental movement and the opposition to Golden Rice by activists.
German original text

AllAfrica Online
A major African news portal covers the potential for Golden Rice to alleviate vitamin A deficiency in Africa, quoting Dr. Moore.

TopAgrar
The principle Agriculture industry magazine in Germany covers the Golden Rice Now! campaign and notes the organics industry supporting Greenpeace as an issue.

SwissInfo
The Swiss multi-language news portal reprints Peter Singer's highly articulate defense of Golden Rice and his support for the Golden Rice Now! Campaign.

Golden Rice Now! European Tour, April 6 - 14, 2014

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The German portion of the Golden Rice Now! campaign included presentations in Heidleberg, Stuttgart, Cologne, Munich and Berlin. Scientists, media, policymakers and supporters were in attendance at all of them.

Near Munich the campaign called off a planned demonstration when Germany's most well-known organics company, HiPP, issued a press statement which declared they did not support Greenpeace.

A story was published in TopAgrar, the most read agro-business (including organics) journal in Germany. The Allow Golden Rice Society also issued a Press Release about the statement and thanked HiPP for makingtheir position clear.

L'Opinion, a growing Paris newspaper covered our visit on page four.

Media following the January 2014 European Tour

Golden Rice Now! European Tour, January 12 - February 3, 2014

Allow Golden Rice Protest - London, UK January 31

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The Independent
Page 4 and 5 of the edition on th day of the protest were devoted to the Golden Rice issue, very clearly outlining the charges against Greenpeace and why their policy was wrong, repeating our statement that they have blood on their hands.

The Independen - Editorial
A Page 2 editorial in the same edition supported the Golden Rice Now campaign.

The Times
The Times picked up on the Independent article.

John Innes Centre - Norwich, UK

Dr Patrick Moore's public presentation supporting Golden Rice

Presenting at the University of East Anglia - John Innes Centre.


A debate was set up with two pro and two anti speakers on the subject "Do We Need Golden Rice?"

One of the anti speakers said she was not opposed to Golden Rice (good for her) and the other rampled on about Monsanto and referred to 2 million children dying as 'insignificant'. The Aplaus-o-meter gave it to the pro-Golden Rice by a factor of 10.

Allow Golden Rice Protest - Rome, Italy, January 26

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Panorama Weekly Magazine
With a circulation of 300,000, it is one of the two most-prominent Italian weekly magazines. We will provide a translated copy once they have published a web version

La Scienze
The Italian edition of Scientific American Magazine, Le Scienze covers both high-rank American scientific results as well as Italian (and sometimes European) contributions to research. It is a monthly, so we will post the interview once it is published.

Indivanados
A popular current events and science blog in Italy

Images from the Italy protest
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Allow Golden Rice Protest - Brussels, Belgium, January 23

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Basler-Zeitung
A normally green-leaning major newspaper, this Swiss publication covers the Brussels protest with great accuracy. Itis this kind of unique shift in focus that has the scientific community in Europe extremely positive about the Golden Rice Now campaign.

Euractiv.com
To see why they are so pleased, read this article in an EU journal 'covering' the Europabio conference that examined the current state of genetic engineering in agriculture and which included a presentation on Golden Rice. It is a distorted and untruthful copy of the positions taken by Greenpeace. Read the comment section below it to see the reactions from scientists who were present at the event and other public.

Allow Golden Rice Protest - Amsterdam, Holland, January 20

Television

Major TV program coverage of the protest by one of Holland's most popular daily programs, featuring science reporter Rosanne Hertzberger

Print/Internet

Elsevier, the world's largest scientific publisher gives coverage that criticizes the rest of the media for their poor coverage of the Amsterdam protest.

Allow Golden Rice Protest - Hamburg, Germany, January 17

Many thanks to our hosts at Forum Grune Vernunft

Television

Nationwide coverage on Germany's largest public television networks

ZDF Television:

SAT1 Television:

NDR/ARD  Television:

Dr Patrick Moore with Golden Rice co-inventor Dr Ingo Potrykus
Print/Internet

(if you use Google Chrome you can see English translations automatically)

Die Welt
LN Online
TAZ DE
Agrarheute
Der Tagesspeigel
Hamburger Adenblatt
Nachricten.de
Bild de
Berliner Zeitung
Biotechnologie.de
ARD.de
Berliner Morgenpost
Hamburger Morgenpost
Aktuel Hamburg
Frankfurter Rundshau
Frankfurter Allgemeine

In the opposition:
This online bulletin from the "Friends of the Earth" claims we are paid lobbyists earning more than the Prime Minister, that GM is only to control the world food supply and that the Golden Rice is a Green Propaganda project for a problem that does not exist.

Allow Golden Rice Protest, Vancouver BC, October 2013

Television

October 12
CBC French Television News

Coverage of the Allow Golden Rice Now protest against Greenpeace in Vancouver


October 2, 2013
Sun Television

Dr. Patrick Moore interview
with Ezra Levant in Toronto


October 12
Global Television News
 

Coverage of the Allow Golden Rice Now protest against Greenpeace in Vancouver

Print/Internet

October 2
The Toronto Sun

Announcement of the Allow Golden Rice Now campaign in Toronto


October 2
American Council on Science and Health

Coverage of the Allow Golden Rice Now campaign and skype interview with Dr. Patrick Moore


October 8
The Globe and Mail Online

Op-Editorial by Dr. Patrick Moore regarding Greenpeace's shift from a humanitarian effort.


October 12
The National Post

(circ.800K) Coverage of the Allow Golden Rice Now protest against Greenpeace in Vancouver


October 13
Brietbart

Widely distributed blog covering the Allow Golden Rice Now campaign


October 15
Genetic Literacy Project

A collaborative essay by D. Patrick Moore, Robert Wager and Misha Popoff on the current state of GMO

Radio

October 5
BBC Radio 4

A discussion including activist Mark Lynas spurred by the Allow Golden Rice Now protest in Toronto


October 10
CKNW Radio

The Bill Good Show interviews Dr. Patrick Moore prior to the Vancouver protest


October 12
CBC Radio

On The Coast show features interview with Dr. Patrick Moore during the vancouver protest


October 12
CBC Radio

Genetic Modification discussion featuring a biologist who tours BC educating about GMOs


October 13
CKNW Radio

Sean Leslie interviews Dr. Patrick Moore about the Allow Golden Rice Now campaign