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POLICY & REGULATION: Hazards of GM rice field trials in Pakistan





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TITLE:   HAZARDS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED RICE

SOURCE:  Dawn, Pakistan

AUTHOR:  Gada Hussain Mahessar

URL:     http://www.dawn.com/2011/07/03/hazards-of-genetically-modified-rice.html

DATE:    03.07.2011

SUMMARY: "IT has been learnt that research on genetically modified rice has started at the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad, which is an alarming situation and harmful for human beings. [...] The owner/producer of genetically modified rice is China where its cultivation is being disputed. Initially, two strains of genetically modified rice were approved for open field experiments but not for commercial sale. However, it has been spreading illegally for years in China."

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HAZARDS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED RICE

IT has been learnt that research on genetically modified rice has started at the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Islamabad, which is an alarming situation and harmful for human beings.

In this connection, I would like to present some facts. The owner/producer of genetically modified rice is China where its cultivation is being disputed.

Initially, two strains of genetically modified rice were approved for open field experiments but not for commercial sale. However, it has been spreading illegally for years in China.

A joint investigation by four government departments has found that illegal genetically modified seeds are available in several provinces of China because of weak management.

In a conference chaired by Vice Premier Li Keqiang, the highly-respected agronomist Tong Pingya blasted Chinese scientists for ?treating the Chinese people like guinea pigs?.

China does not need genetically modified rice. They demanded public debate and clear labelling of products containing genetically modified organisms.

According to Green Peace?s Fang, ?Genetically modified seeds cost two to five times more than ordinary seeds and in terms of yield there isn?t really a big difference.?

Being an exporter of rice, I would say that international buyers of rice desire clear labelling (genetically modified and organism-free) of rice on each and every bag otherwise its trade might be refused. It means genetically modified rice is harmful for human beings.

Actually genetically modified rice is the feed of animals like pigs, rats, etc., for their rapid growth. For example, feed is being given to chicken and fish containing dangerous chemicals, causing fatal, chronic diseases and deaths.

The scientists of China are opposing the cultivation of genetically modified rice whereas we are taking keen interest in its research which is incomprehensible.

It is feared that illegal/unapproved genetically modified rice seeds would be used in our country like hybrid rice which contains high aflatoxin which causes cancer and other diseases.

The PARC is, therefore, requested to take up the matter on top priority and stop further research on genetically modified rice in the best interest of the country.