Golden Rice is a Syngenta product and can be marketed for profit at any time the company wishes, says a critic
This month the pro-GMO lobbyist Patrick Moore is coming to Europe to do a lecture tour promoting beta-carotene enriched GMO Golden Rice, which is claimed to combat vitamin A deficiency-induced blindness.
Moore is likely to accuse environmentalists in rich countries of killing and blinding poor children in third world countries by denying them Golden Rice.
Golden Rice is promoted as a humanitarian "public good" GMO.
However, a critic of Golden Rice disagrees and sent us the comments below.
For more on Patrick Moore see:
Golden Rice is a 100% corporate product Anonymous authorship Published by GMWatch, 13 January 2014
It is a myth or rather a lie that Golden Rice is a "public" product. Golden Rice 2 (GR2) is a 100% corporate product.
They only "waive" the fees for farmers who make less than 10,000 USD a year (which is a lot in the Philippines) BUT it is entirely open as to who defines what counts for reaching the 10,000 USD and how they define it. Will this be farmer income from selling GR2 only or farmer income from farming in total (which is what the GR website statement suggests, below) or farmers’ FAMILY income from farming of all family members?
How will it be documented and determined who has to pay? Will Syngenta go to the families and check their tax bills? Will the government do this for Syngenta? Will farmers have to reveal their total family income situation to a transnational corporation? There are many unresolved issues here.
And then: What happens if they reach the corporate-set and possibly-corporate-determined and corporate-decided threshold of 10,000 USD? How much will they have to pay, when to whom? Where will be the court for settlement, will the farmers be able to fight for their rights in courts? And will they be able to choose NOT to grow GR2 rice anymore? Who is cleaning up contamination then and will they have to pay fees even if they don’t want to grow it but their seeds are contaminated? What’s the patent law in Philippines saying? Are they going to spread the GR2 trait through all Indica varieties farmers grow? This would amount to the most massive GM contamination case we know of right now. If they don’t, then how it be ensured that those who go blind and need it most are reached?
In Europe or the US nobody would ever enter into such a totally unclear contract with a corporation - unless they're brain-dead or blackmailed. And nobody explains these legal issues that may come up in the future to the small scale farmers, which could have serious consequences for them years down the road - passed on to future generations of farmers!
Syngenta says they do not want to market GR - but that statement is not legally binding. It is just lip service. They could re-consider and do the exact opposite overnight with a decision by the CEO. Who would sue them then and where? Why would they otherwise retain full commercial rights and the rights on any improvement?
So does this mean if farmers continue to breed GR2 varieties and perhaps improve the GR in one way or another - these improved varieties belong to Syngenta? So farmers are working for Syngenta from now on - perhaps even paying for being allowed to improve their GM rice? And Syngenta does not take on any responsibility either - so, a perfect win-win for Syngenta - the testing, commercializing and improving is done by public and farmers. If a cool product emerges they can take it immediately to the market and make money with it everywhere else or even in the target countries. If not, they get all the charity Brownie points!
Who enforces this agreement, what court can be called if Syngenta decides differently in the future? How binding is this whole humanitarian fairytale in front of what court?? Is it "trust us" business…?
A lawyer should look at what the Golden Rice Project states here:
"The essence of the Sublicensing Agreement:
"The inventors have assigned their exclusive rights to the Golden Rice technology to Syngenta….
"Syngenta retains commercial rights, although it has abandoned its plans to commercialise Golden Rice…
"Commercial rights of improvements to the technology go to Syngenta…"