Policy Seminar

Leveraging Agriculture to Improve Human Nutrition

Apr 14, 2011 - 04:15 pm to 05:45 pm UTC

Prospects for Golden Rice


Dr. Ingo Potrykus and Dr. S. R. Rao regret that they will be unable to join the seminar due to extenuating circumstances. The revised program is given in the abstract below.


Following a decade of research, professors Ingo Potrykus and Peter Beyer invented Golden Rice in 2000. This breakthrough transformed milled white rice into an affordable and potentially plentiful source of vitamin A in developing countries. The Golden Rice Project works to provide this biofortified rice to those most at risk of malnutrition. In 2004, the first Golden Rice field trials took place in Louisiana, followed by the first Asian field trials in 2008. This and other research has shown that Golden Rice can contribute to combating vitamin-A deficiency in children and adults, but the cultivation and distribution of Golden Rice remains limited to a few trials.

The nearly 10 million yearly deaths of children under the age of five can be reduced by as much as 34 percent through vitamin A programs. In 2009, vitamin A deficiency affected 190 million children and 20 million pregnant women by impairing immune-system function and increasing the risk of death from childhood diseases. If we have a technology to help reduce these staggering statistics, what are we waiting for?

The seminar will be chaired by Dr. Howarth Bouis, Director of HarvestPlus (a joint IFPRI/CIAT initiative). Dr. Peter Beyer, who co-invented Golden Rice with Dr. Potrykus, will discuss the challenges that Golden Rice has faced. Dr. Gerard Barry, the International Rice Research Institute’s Golden Rice Project (www.irri.org/goldenrice) Leader, will provide an update on new activities planned for Golden Rice in South and South-East Asia. Dr. Adrian Dubock, Golden Rice Project Director, will provide additional perspectives on the not-for-profit Golden Rice Project. The latter half of the seminar will involve a discussion between the speakers, other Humanitarian Board members, and participants.

All three speakers and the Chair are members of the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board (www.goldenrice.org ). Other Humanitarian Board members will also be present to participate in the discussion.