To our sectoral groups, civil society organizations, community leaders, advocates, development workers, fellow government workers, academics, and members of the press, good afternoon and welcome to this conference’s dialogue on Golden Rice.
I am pleased that the National Anti-Poverty Commission has been given the opportunity to host this dialogue on a very important matter that has vast repercussions on public health, food security and nutrition, livelihood, and policy-making.
Based on reports we received from our basic sectors in a dialogue held by the NAPC in August 2017, Golden Rice poses health risks and threatens the livelihood of peasant communities. According to farmers and peasant organizations, there were neither any comprehensive consultations or convincing preliminary scientific research that proves that Golden Rice is safe or that it can significantly address hunger or Vitamin A deficiency.
These are issues that are close to the heart of NAPC. In the past 20 years since it was formed, NAPC has been part of our nation’s struggle to end poverty, hunger, landlessness, and other hurdles to the fulfillment of our people’s most basic needs.
Today’s dialogue is a chance to clarify and further expand the space of the participation of our basic sectors. It is the duty of government to ensure that the people have a central role in governance and policy-making. I therefore enjoin everyone here with us today to give prime importance to the rights and welfare of our people as we make our stand and chart our next steps with regard to the impending test trials of Golden Rice in our communities.
As the facilitator of this dialogue, I am honored to be with you all today and I look forward to a very lively discussion, informed, I’m sure, of our years of combined experience, rigorous research, intimate knowledge of our respective field of expertise, and most of all, the urgent need to work for the common good and towards people-centered development.
Once again, thank you all for coming today and good afternoon.