Tuesday, March 17, 2015

No to golden rice in Negros – ONOPRA

The anti-GMO rally five years ago in front of the Provincial
The Organic na Negros! Producers and Retailers Association (ONOPRA) is opposing the commercialization of golden rice in 2016.

ONOPRA president Ramoy Uy Jr. expressed deep concern that the country is now counted as among the world’s “biotech mega-countries.”

He said that this development is a threat to the fast growing organic industry, not only in the province but in the country. 

In 2007, ONOPRA lobbied with the provincial board to ban the entry of GMO to benefit the efforts of the thousands of organic farmers from its more than 80 organizations of small farmers, NGOs, peoples’ organizations, cooperatives, federations, private companies, government line agencies, chefs, restaurateurs and organic advocates to remake the province as an organic food bowl. GMOs are incompatible with international organic standards.

Negros Occidental has aggressively promoted rice production—including organic rice - to attain self-sufficiency that the province now produces 97.43 percent of this Filipino staple food, Uy said.

Since mainstreaming the organic program in the province and banning of GMO's, Uy said that they "experienced a significant increase in our rice production. This only proves that we don't need this GMO technology to be able to become rice sufficient."

It has also been noted that organic rice farmers in the province now produce there own inputs, from organic fertilizer, pest control and seeds. Increasing the income and are now empowered, he said.

He said that GMO technology is only giving back the power to multinational companies. "That is why farmers from all over the country has remained poor."

The production of organic rice yield has an average of 4.6 tons per hectare, "that is all using organic and natural farming methods without chemicals, pesticides, and not even GMOs," he added.

Another positive development for Negros is the niche market for GMO free products for soy and corn. "We got several inquiries from big buyers of GMO free corn and soybeans. It is to our advantage because GMO is banned in the province and with increasing awareness from consumers worldwide about the dangers of GMO food that is why a lot of buyers especially exporters are looking for GMO-free products."

Uy stressed that there are  no benefits from golden rice that could contaminate organic rice production in the province. "Last year, even the International Rice Research Institute pushed back the commercialization of golden rice due to its very low yield performance. Moreover, there are no studies on allergenicity and toxicity of this frankencrop."

Uy said that ONOPRA is100 percent behind the provincial government in banning GMOs in Negros Occidental.

Negros Island.  The SWEET Spot of the 


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