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Gates Foundation Donates $18 Million to Support GM Rice, Cassava

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Nearly $20 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will support genetically modified rice and cassava to grown in low income countries.

A grant of $10.3 million will go to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for Golden Rice development; the GM rice contains beta carotene to combat Vitamin A deficiencies. Golden rice will apply for approval in the Philippines in 2013 and in Bangladesh in 2015.

An $8.3 million grant will go to the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to develop GM BioCassava Plus, with added iron, protein and beta carotene, due for approval in 2017.

Anti-GMO organization MASIPAG, headed by Dr. Chito Medina, wants IRRI's work halted immediately. "We should understand that Vitamin A deficiency is not a problem of insufficient food sources but of food inaccessibility due to poverty and its associated conditions," he said. " The problem on 'hidden hunger' is exacerbated by loss of other food sources due to mono-cropping agricultural technology brought about by IRRI. What the farmers need is not expensive technology but a sustainable one."

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