chapter  3
25 Pages

An Institutional Model? The Case of Golden Rice

This chapter outlines a very different biofortification pathway, which began at around the same time as the iron rice project. The high-pro-vitamin A rice or ‘Golden Rice’ initiative has differed from early CGIAR biofortification research and the iron rice study in important ways. Unlike iron-enriched rice, Golden Rice, as its name suggests, is visibly different; the elevated levels of beta-carotene in Golden Rice lend it a distinctive yellow-orange colour. And while ‘high-iron rice’ had emerged from ongoing breeding programmes at IRRI and other public research institutions in Asia, Golden Rice was launched from a laboratory in Switzerland in 1999. Importantly, Golden Rice was transgenic1

and, as such, became the focus of controversy and debate. The project had been funded (principally) by the Rockefeller Foundation under its International Program on Rice Biotechnology (IPRB) which had set out explicitly to link Northern ‘advanced research institutions’ with the expertise to conduct ‘cutting edge’ biotechnology research with institutions in ‘rice-dependent’ countries in the South.