Mother and Child Health – Immunization Program, BPBB, PMJSY, PMMSY, etc.

Golden RicePriority 1

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Golden rice, Fortified rice

Mains level : Malnutrition elimination strategies



Bangladesh is set to becoming the first country to approve plantation of Golden Rice variety to counter Vitamin A deficiency.

Golden Rice

  • In the late 1990s, German scientists developed a genetically modified variety of rice called Golden Rice.
  • It is a variety of rice (Oryza sativa) produced through genetic engineering to biosynthesize beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, in the edible parts of rice.
  • It differs from its parental strain by the addition of three beta-carotene biosynthesis genes.
  • The parental strain can naturally produce beta-carotene in its leaves, where it is involved in photosynthesis.

Why golden rice?

  • Golden Rice is intended to produce a fortified food to be grown and consumed in areas with a shortage of dietary vitamin A.
  • It was claimed to be able to fight Vitamin A deficiency, which is the leading cause of blindness among children and can also lead to death due to infectious diseases such as measles.
  • Rice is naturally low in the pigment beta-carotene, which the body uses to make Vitamin A. Golden rice contains this, which is the reason for its golden colour.
  • The claim has sometimes been contested over the years, with a 2016 study from Washington University in St Louis reporting that the variety may fall short of what it is supposed to achieve.

Why in Bangladesh?

  • Advocates of the variety stress how it can help countries where Vitamin A deficiencies leave millions at high risk.
  • In Bangladesh, over 21 per cent of the children have vitamin A deficiency.
  • The Golden Rice that is being reviewed in Bangladesh is developed by the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute.
  • According to the institute, this rice variety will not be more expensive than the conventional variety.

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